In 1828 Jesse Thomas purchased a block of land that would grow smaller and more prosperous throughout the years. Over the course of nearly 200 years this property would have a house built on it, and a city built around it. It would be home to 5 families, house many parties, and become one of the oldest houses in Marion. The house that now stands at 130 N. Washington St. in Marion, Indiana has a long and unique history, filled with colorful people.
Before the actual house was built, the property on and around the Meyer House, as it has come to be known, was to be purchased by a long line of buyers and sellers. Jesse Thomas originally purchased 104.9 acres of land right outside the city limits of Marion on August 5, 1828 from the government. On October 19, 1835 Thomas sold this property to Samuel Gilbert for 1,200 dollars. Samuel Gilbert sold the property to Riley Marshall on March 2, 1838 for 2,500 dollars. On February 12, 1850 Riley Marshall sold the property to William and Robert Simpson for 5,000 dollars. Robert Simpson then sold his part of the property on August 1, 1854 to his brother William Simpson for 5,000 dollars. William Simpson sold the property to Aaron C. Swayzee and Cimon Goldthait on December 25, 1854 for 8000 dollars. Thomas J. Neal bought part of the original 104.9 acres three days later on December 28, 1854 for 821.50 dollars. Neal sold the property to his wife Elizabeth on August 19, 1857 for sixty dollars. Twenty-four years later on September 19, 1881 the Neals sold it to their son for 2000 dollars. Elizabeth, Thomas, Charles, and Abbie E. Neal sold all of their property to the city of Marion on June 24, 1899. On that date the property became part of the city limits of Marion, and it was named Neal’s Fourth Addition.
June 14, 1919 was the date that Emanuel Wildermuth purchased a house for 5,000 dollars from Charles E. Neal. This house was originally built in 1895. He planned to make a home and raise a family from this piece of land. Wildermuth was born and raised in Ohio, and moved to Marion with his wife, Isabelle, in 1919. Emanuel was fifty-eight, and his wife was sixty. After they built their house they became farmers. They were very successful, and by 1931 their household income was about 7,000 dollars a year which, for the time, was a fortune. Emanuel died on December 30, 1939 and willed the house to his wife. Isabelle, however, relinquished her rights to the house and gave those rights to Clay L. Eviston, her son-in-law. The Eviston’s owned the house for twenty years. In 1960 the ownership of the house fell into the hands of Edgar C. Meyer. Meyer was the office manager at Butler Music, and during the ‘70s there were many social parties held in the house. In 1998 house was sold to Nancy Frazier and Wilson Lawrence, both of whom were senior citizens and very sick when they moved in. They moved out in 1999 and sold it to Ronald and Marsha Vermilion and moved to Arkansas to be with their family during perhaps the last years of their life. Ronald and Marsha are now teachers at Marion High School and have two children, one boy named Lane, and one girl named Chloe.
The Meyer House, as it is now called, was originally built in 1895, by Charles E. Neal. The architectural style of the house is called Queen Anne. It originally didn’t have any real kitchen because the dining room and the fireplace were used as the kitchen because gas or electrical stoves had not been invented yet. There was a lot of work done to the upstairs at the invention of inside plumbing because some rooms were changed from bedrooms or closets into bathrooms. The kitchen was added sometime after the inside plumbing came along. Where this kitchen is now used to be porch that went all the way around the house. The porch now only goes along the front and halfway around the side. There is also an additional porch at the back of the house. The square footage of porch is 82 square feet. They parlor in the front of the house is 128 square feet. The entrance room is 280 square feet. The dining room is 104 square feet. The kitchen is 120 spare feet. The Porch in the back is 182 square feet. The upstairs is a total of 614 square feet. The total house square footage is 1556 square feet. The house is very elegant. The stairway that leads to the bedrooms upstairs is many of wood and is beautifully carved. All of the ceilings in this house are high because it was built so long ago, and its structure is Queen Anne. The parlor at the front of the house signifies its age and architectural structure, and the disorganized rooming space for bathrooms in the upstairs is a sure sign that inside plumbing was added after the house was built. Its structural design and elegance are what make it unique and beautiful.
The house at 130 N. Washington St. in Marion, IN has been through many owners and served many purposes throughout the course of its existence. From being a farmhouse outside the city limits to being a party house in the ‘70s, this house has served many purposes. Ronnie and Marsha Vermilion, who live there now, were intrigued with its structure and elegance and history when they purchased it, and still find it beautiful today. This Old House is a Queen Anne structure, a elegant beauty, and a home to five families throughout Marion’s history.
- Clemons, Kay. Obituaries as are listed in the Marion Chronicle Tribune. Marion Public Library: 2001.
- Ebert, Louis E. Marion, Indiana and Grant County Directory. R.L. Polk + Co. : 1931, 1942, 1960, 1998, 1999.
- Grant County Assessor: Property Report. 2 January 2004. <http://www.grantcounty.net/grant/grant.fwx?D01INFO00000019339>
- Marsha Vermilion. Personal Interview. 5 January 2004.
- Rita S. Neagle. Grant County Interim Report. Historic Landmarks Foundation of Indiana: March 1993.
- 130 N Washington St., Marion, Center Twp., Grant Co., IN---Dwell. 495, Fam. 504—Page 34A, Line 24
Submitted by Jenny Wolcott on January 6, 2004 for Mr. Munn's AP U.S. History class at Marion High School