The Painted Lady
Located in Center Township, the house at 414 W. 4th Street is located on lot four of Whites' Second Addition. The two-story pink, Victorian home has an attic, attached garage, and both an enclosed and open porch. Looking at the front, the house has many different sized windows at different levels of the house. It also has many pitched gables including the one over the front stoop. Tall, white pillars with unique and intricate detail on both the top and bottom hold up the roof over the porch. The porch, almost the full width of the front of the house, has a sitting area with a porch swing.
The architectural style of this home is Queen Anne (Interim). Queen Anne dominated Victorian architecture from 1880 until 1910 and first came out in 1876 when the British government constructed them. The first American Queen Anne home was the William Watts Sherman house in Newport, Rhode Island built in 1874.
The romantic style is the main element of the Queen Anne houses. Queen Anne houses are usually asymmetrical. The windows are a variety of sizes and shapes including bay, stained glass, and rounded arch. It was very common for a large pane of glass to be surrounded by smaller panes of glass. Queen Anne homes have steeply pitched roofs made of patterned wood or slate shingles. The first floor of these homes was usually made of brick while the above floors were made of horizontal boards or shingles. Other components of Queen Anne homes were circular towers and wrap-around porches that extended the full width of the home (Architectural).
When Queen Anne homes were first constructed, they were often painted with several colors to bring out the textures and trim of the house. However, in the 1900s, when Queen Anne homes became less popular, most of the structures were painted over white (Architectural).
Owned by the Torrance family for three generations, the house at 414 W. 4th Street was built by an Ohio native, Frank Torrance, in c1888. The exact date of construction is unclear, but sometime between 1888 and 1890 he built the house that now resides at 414 W. 4th Street. From 1888 until 1939, the address for the Torrance house was 403 W. 4th Street. However in 1940, the houses on West 4th Street were renumbered and the house changed to 414 W. 4th Street, the current address. Frank Torrance was an employee of Hamaker, Torrance & Steele, a title abstracting company for real estate in Grant County. He co-owned the company with H.G. Hamaker and W.D. Steele (Marion 98). Frank was also the treasurer and backpacker at the soldier’s home (Marion 264). His death in c1894 left his wife, Alice Torrance (Stebbins), Jeremiah B. Stebbins, her grandfather, was a Marion tailor who was friends with the Miami Indians. He made all the garments worn by Chief Meshingomesia. The country club was named after this chief. Marion 186). After the death of her husband, Alice moved to an apartment on Gallatin St., and Jeremiah received ownership of the house. Years later, Alice remarried and became Mrs. George M. Kleder.
The Torrance Family
Jeremiah Torrance, better known as Jerry Torrance, was a clerk for John Davis, his grandfather (Marion 556). On June 6, 1905, Jerry married Lucille Bryson, daughter of Jefferson and Frances Samantha Bryson. Lucille was a native of Decatur County. She was a member of the First Presbyterian Church, the Research Club, the Benjamin Mendenhall Chapter of the Colonial Dames, the former president of the Marion General Hospital Womens’ Auxiliary and a charter member of the Hostess House. During their marriage, they had two children - a baby girl, Pauline Torrance, and a baby boy, Jerry Torrance Jr. (Whitson 1252).
In 1913, Jerry Sr. and Lucille both worked at the Davis Drug Store located at 410 S. Washington (Marion 404). It was owned by Jerry’s grandmother, Malinda Davis; his grandfather had passed away in 1903. Today, the Centrum Mall in downtown Marion has replaced the Davis Drug Store. Centrum Mall houses numerous businesses including the Marion Camera Shop and a vegetarian restaurant.
In 1925, Jerry Sr. became an officer and director of the Citizens Trust and Savings Company along with several other prominent businessmen: Frank Gartland, Frank Tippey, and Dr. W. K. Braunlin. Jerry Sr. was a member of the First Presbyterian Church for 75 years and was also a member in both the Mecca Club and the Meshingomesia Country Club. For fifty years, he was a member of the Samaritan Lodge, Knights Templar, Scottish Rite, and Murat Shrine at Indianapolis. Jerry Sr. was actively involved in the Davis Drug Store until 1935 when he decided to retire (“Jerry” A1). He then became the chairman of the War Price and Rationing Board during World War II.
Jerry Torrance Sr. passed away on November 4, 1966 at Marion General Hospital. His wife passed away twelve years later in a nursing home after an extended illness. Both husband and wife had services at the Raven Funeral home in Marion and were buried at the IOOF Cemetery. Jerry’s daughter, Pauline, soon married and became Mrs. Charles F. Abell (“Jerry” A1). His son, Jerry Jr., also married and had four daughters: Alice, Catherine, Marianne, and Martha Lu.
Jerry Jr. and wife, Joan, lived at 414 W. 4th Street with their children until c1968 when they decided to build a house in what is now currently called Shady Hills. Eventually, all of their daughters got married. Alice became Mrs. Roger Smith and is currently working at JoAnn Fabrics in Marion, IN. Martha Lu wed Mr. Wolf Bloomfield and moved to London, England. Catherine became Mrs. Matthew Pain. Marianne moved to Santa Paula, California and married a famous TV movie star, Dana Elcar, most famous for directing and acting in the TV series MacGyver during the ‘80s (TV Tome). Dana Elcar was born October 10, 1927 in Ferndale, Michigan. He has had starring roles in five television series and guest starring roles on over fifty television episodes. In 1991, Dana went blind due to glaucoma and now needs a special computer to read printed text (TV Tome).
Joan Torrance passed away in December of 1994. Survivors were her husband, Jerry Jr., currently of Marion, her four daughters, brother, and ten grandchildren. Jerry W. Torrance Jr. is still living. The Torrance family was one of the first pioneer families in Marion, and they still call Marion their home.
The Painted Lady Hair Salon
Although the house at 414 W. 4th Street has always been used for residential purposes, in 2000, it became a home for a business currently known as The Painted Lady, a hair salon owned by Davin Testerman. Davin decided to buy the house because it was zoned for business, and it had the desired square footage. Also, it was in his price range and the house was located on a busy street.
Davin decided on the name The Painted Lady because the house was multicolored: pink, purple, and white. Since multicolored Victorian homes were called Painted Ladies in the late 1800s, he decided the name fit. Davin established The Painted Lady in May of 2000, and the business has been going strong for almost four years. Currently there are over two hundred clients at The Painted Lady as well as four stylists (Davin).
Dating back to the late 1800s, the house at 414 W. 4th Street has been a home to the Torrance family for almost eighty years. It has been a home of businessmen and civic leaders, housewives and mothers. Over a hundred years later, it has gone from a home to a booming business. However, that one hundred years has not changed the intricate, Victorian detail of the Queen Anne home. If walls could talk, the house at 414 W. 4th Street could carry on quite an interesting conversation. Through each decade the house has changed, but the past will always remain the same.
Submitted by Stacey Ernst on January 6, 2004 for Mr. Munn's AP U.S. History class at Marion High School.