Saturday, August 13, 2016

The Story of a Brick Tudor in North Irvington Garden District

In 1932, while the Great Depression depleted the income of most Americans, a young couple in their early twenties hired architect, George W. Applegate, to design their new home at 816 North Audubon Road. Married on February 6, 1930, Donald Hirschman and Elma Louis Paul Hirschman seemed to be prospering while many of their neighbors struggled. Mr. Hirschman came from a prominent Indianapolis family. His Grandfather, Conrad, founded the J.C. Hirschman Mattress Company. His father worked in sales for the Lavelle Rubber Company and the Radiator Specialty Company. Mrs. Hirschman, who attended Butler University, originally hailed from Cambridge City, Indiana.

Like his father and grandfather, Donald Hirschman turned towards sales to earn a living, first for the Indianapolis Paint and Varnish Company and later for Harry Sharp Ford. At the time that they hired him, George W. Applegate, who moved to Indianapolis from Corydon, Indiana, worked for the Ar-Ke-Tex Corporation. Mr. Applegate designed a brick Tudor-Revival home in vogue during that era. A copy of the original design still remains with the property due to the generosity of Conrad Hirschman, the only child of Donald and Elma.

The Hirshmans relocated to Logansport, Indiana in 1942. Other families to dwell in the cottage after the Hirschmans included the Horton and Pearce families. In 1952, Wayne and Caroline Dorsett along with their two daughters, Marty and Carol, moved into the house. For the next forty-five years, the Dorsetts resided at 816 North Audubon Road. Both of the Dorsett daughters married and eventually left the home, but Mr. and Mrs. Dorsett continued to dwell here for many years. Mr. Dorsett worked for the Eel River Oil Company. Mrs. Dorsett stayed home with their daughters but was active in several clubs including the Betsy Ross Club. Society snippets from the Indianapolis Star, reveal that she hosted numerous club events at her home in the 1950s and 60s. Mrs. Dorsett passed away in 1989 while Mr. Dorsett died in 1996.

Most of the information for this post came from Emily Jarzen, who copiously researched the story of the house as a present for her husband. She interviewed Conrad Hirschman and both of the Dorsett daughters. Ms. Jarzen generously shared both the information and photos for this post.

Blueprints drawn up by George W. Applegate in 1932 for Donald and Elma Hirschman in 1932

An undated photograph taken by the Dorsett family who dwelled at 816 North Audubon Road from 1952 until 1996.

Wayne Dorsett was a businessman and worked for an oil company. He and his wife Caroline dwelled at 816 North Audubon Road for forty-five years.  

Wayne Dorsett posed with his daughters, Marty and Carol c1955 in front of the family home at 816 North Audubon Road.

816 North Audubon Road c1959

816 North Audubon Road in the summer of 2016

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