1935 image of 5320 North Meridian Street from the Harley Wesley Rhodehamel Sr. Photo Archive
The residence at 5320 North Meridian Street is located within the boundaries of several respected community organizations. They include the Butler-Tarkington Neighborhood Association, Meridian Street Preservation Commission, Meridian Street Foundation, and Midtown Indy. The architect who designed the residence and oversaw its construction was Charles Russell Federman (1893-1944). Mr. Federman built many outstanding homes in the Butler-Tarkington, Meridian-Kessler, and Meridian Hills neighborhoods.
He and his family resided only a block away from the subject property when it was being built. His name is not as well-known as other Indianapolis architects who were active in the first half of the twentieth century, because Mr. Federman died at the relatively young age of 50.
The two-story brick Tudor home with slate roof, stone trim, and leaded glass windows was built on a lot measuring 100 feet by 297.5 feet, almost seven-tenths of an acre. The home contains 5,226 square feet on the main level, 2,283 square feet on the second level, 2,253 square feet in the basement, and 690 square feet in the attic, for a total enclosed living space of 10,452 square feet. The living room and library on the main level, as well as the recreation room on the lower level, all have fireplaces. Carved woodwork and arched doors convey both warmth and elegance. Each of the five bedrooms has its own full bath, plus there are half-baths on the main and lower levels. The residence also has an attached 3-car garage.
Construction of the residence began in 1929, as evidenced by its appearance on the 1929 Baist Atlas map of the north side of Indianapolis. However, the first owners of the home did not purchase the property until October of 1934. It is unclear as to why it took five years for the house to be completed, but possibly the stock market crash of 1929 and the Great Depression that followed it caused a delay in the home's construction. Several details that relate to the first homeowners’ interests and organizational affiliations remain in the home today, including carvings in the stonework and the woodwork.
In October of 1934, the property was purchased from the American Estates Company by Harley Wesley Rhodehamel Sr. (1885-1952) and his wife, Mary (Klentschy) Rhodehamel (1886-1968). The Rhodehamels were the parents of two sons, Robert Harley Rhodehamel Sr. (1913-1996) and Harley Wesley Rhodehamel Jr. (1918-2005). A Purdue University graduate, Harley Rhodehamel Sr. worked at Eli Lilly and Company for 42 years, serving as the head of its research department for many of them. Among the achievements under his direction were the development of barbiturates and insulin. He was a member of Tabernacle Presbyterian Church and Phi Gamma Delta Fraternity. Mary Rhodehamel was a member of The Propylaeum, Fortnightly Literary Club, and Fairview Presbyterian Church.
Shortly after the 1952 death of Harley Wesley Rhodehamel Sr., the Rhodehamels’ older son and his family moved into the residence with the widowed Mary. Robert Harley Rhodehamel Sr. (1913-1996) was a graduate of Wabash College and Harvard Business School. Like his father before him, Robert worked at Eli Lilly and Company for more than four decades. He was a Navy veteran of World War II and a member of the Indiana Historical Society. His wife, Emma (Clark) Rhodehamel (1917-2004), did volunteer work at Indianapolis’ first osteopathic hospital, Westview Hospital, now part of the Community Health Network. She was also active in the Park School Mothers’ Association. Robert and Emma’s children were Carole (Rhodehamel) Carroll, Joyce Ann (Rhodehamel) Stineburg (1946-2010), and Robert Harley Rhodehamel Jr. In 1964, Mary Rhodehamel moved from 5320 North Meridian Street to the newly constructed Meridian Towers Apartments on the southeast corner of 40th and Meridian Streets. Following Mary’s death in 1968, the subject property was owned by Robert and Emma. They remained in the home until 1987. The combined years of the Rhodehamel family’s ownership was 53 years. It was the longest period of occupancy by a family in the home’s nine decades of existence.
The third owners of the property were James Edward Lingeman, M.D., and Rita (Nyeboer) Lingeman. A graduate of the Indiana University School of Medicine, Dr. Lingeman is a urologist with IU Health. He was the founding director of the International Kidney Stone Institute and is Professor of Clinical Urology at the Indiana University School of Medicine. Mrs. Lingeman is a graduate of St. Mary’s Hospital School of Nursing in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The Lingemans purchased the home in December of 1987. They were the parents of four young children at the time they acquired the property. Dr. and Mrs. Lingeman completed an extensive renovation of the residence, which was more than half-a-century old by the time of their ownership. They removed the radiators that originally heated the home and installed a totally new heating system, as well as installed central air conditioning. They rewired the home and installed new lighting fixtures. They installed a new kitchen and replaced three of the bathrooms. They painted all of the exterior trim, as well as some of the interior areas, a light teal color.
John Edward Pless, M.D., (1938-2014) and Lois (Stevens) Pless became the fourth owners of the property in 1990. A graduate of the Indiana University School of Medicine, Dr. Pless was a Forensic Pathologist. He served as a Captain in the U.S. Army and the U.S. Army Reserves. Mrs. Pless was active in the Faculty Women’s Club of the IU School of Medicine. Dr. and Mrs. Pless were the parents of Jan Pless Whitesell, Cindy Pless Boschen, and Joshua Pless. The Plesses were initially members of Trinity Episcopal Church and later, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church. They lived in the home for nine years.
In 1999, Andrew J. Lynch, Ph.D., became the home’s fifth owner. An outstanding athlete at Johns Hopkins University, he chose furthering his education over a professional basketball career. He went on to Columbia University, where he obtained an MBA and a Ph.D. in Philosophy. After a successful career as an executive in several respected firms, he became a professor at the Kelley School of Business. He retired in 2015. Dr. Lynch resided in the residence for seventeen years.
The current owners of the home are Jamie Lee Bradbury, M.D., and Lori Elizabeth (Huffman) Bradbury, R.N. The couple purchased the property in the spring of 2016. An Ohio native, Dr. Bradbury attended Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, and was graduated from "The" Ohio University in Columbus and the Indiana University School of Medicine. He is a neurosurgeon at IU Health, specializing in the surgical treatment of neurological system disorders. Indiana-born Lori Bradbury has a degree in Community Health from Purdue University and a degree in Nursing from the University of Indianapolis. She enjoys volunteering for a local troop of Girl Scouts. The Bradburys are the parents of two daughters, Katherine and Evangeline.
St. Margaret’s Hospital Guild is pleased to present this wonderful residence as the site of its primary fundraising event for 2022. Since its inception in 1962, the Decorators’ Show House and Gardens has featured thirty-four homes on North Meridian Street. The frequent appearances of properties on this historic Indianapolis thoroughfare are a testament to the quality of the construction along Meridian Street, as well as an indication of the philanthropic spirit of the homeowners. The guild, along with the homeowners, designers, sponsors, and advertisers, look forward to another successful year of support for Eskenazi Health.
The History of the 2022 Decorators' Show House and Gardens was researched
by St. Margaret's Hospital Guild member, Sharon Butsch Freeland.