Preservation Efforts in Historic Brendonwood
Landstory is proud to lead the preservation efforts for one of Indianapolis’s oldest and most established neighborhoods, Brendonwood, located between 56th Street and Fall Creek Road on the east side. Established in 1917, this is a neighborhood you won’t find just anywhere. The 350 acre site includes a 9-hole golf course club house, pool, dense forestation, hills, and Fall Creek at its back. It has 113 home sites much larger than average, ranging from 1 to 12 acres each.
Brendonwood is a private, self-regulated residential zone, uncommon during its years of establishment. If this wasn’t enough to make the neighborhood truly unique, Brendonwood’s 100-year history is evidenced by the original entrance mall configuration, winding roads, large forested areas and historic architecture.
The neighborhood was planned and developed by Charles S. Lewis in collaboration with Landscape Architect George E. Kessler and engineer A.H. Moore. Lewis’s vision was to have country homes within a park like atmosphere. To accomplish this goal, each road, tree and home site was carefully laid out to showcase the beauty of the surrounding, natural environment.
This natural beauty is easy to see as you drive through the winding, wooded roads. You’ll quickly notice that every home site is unique in size and in style. Varying types of architecture have always been welcome. This varying architecture gives the neighborhood a truly unique feel while keeping its commitment to a cohesive community.
In the past 100 years the neighborhood and its residents can attest to the challenges and triumphs each decade has presented. The roaring 20’s, a time of economic growth, served to give rise to Brendonwood’s early development. During this time period a majority of the first homes were built. The neighborhood newsletter, The Brendonwood Commoner was established in 1926 and served as a bulletin for the many community events including golf tournaments, fireworks, children’s races and games, among others.
During the 30’s, with the passing of founder Charles Lewis and the onset of the Great Depression, Brendonwood found itself, like so many other communities, struggling to adequately maintain its common areas and facilities. The golf course was turned into two fire-arms ranges, which are no longer in commission today.
Next came the 1940’s and World War II. Many homes were shuttered or rented due to its residents being called to serve. The community still thrived in a way very unique to the time period. The golf course was then used for gardening and community suppers to stretch food ration stamps. An air-raid Emergency Response Program was developed that would become a model for many other suburban neighborhoods.
The 1950’s brought the housing boom and 41 new homes were built. In the 60’s a pool was added. A bit of tumult in the 70’s resulted from the Common filing suits against several residents behind in paying the required special assessments. Some residents filed suit in protest and asked to be withdrawn from the neighborhood. In 1980 the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the Common. .
In 2004, Brendonwood was added to both the Indiana and the National Register of Historic Places. In 1992 Brendonwood celebrated its 75th year.
Now in its 100th year and as beautiful as ever, the neighborhood is wishing to restore the entrance mall, re-establish the original hedgerows and stabilize the stream banks of the Fall Creek. Landstory is excited to share in the neighborhoods rich traditions and history by assisting in these restoration efforts.