#1 Carroll B. Huntress House
1127 Indiana Avenue

 

Built 1912

Written by Timothy Stabosz

Architect Unknown, may be George Wood Allen,

La Porte

          The house at 1127 Indiana Avenue was built for

Carroll B. and Margery Huntress. Carroll Huntress

purchased the 40 foot wide empty lot for $1,500 in

April of 1912 from Mary K. Truesdell, and the house

was completed that summer. Truesdell’s parents,

Harvey and Katherine, were pioneers to this area,

arriving in 1836, and Truesdell Avenue in La Porte was

named in honor of the Truesdell family.
          The Huntress house, finished in stucco, is a

Craftsman Bungalow style home. Bungalows are one or one-and-a-half story houses with low-pitched roofs, broad overhanging eaves, typically exposed rafters, and a front porch located underneath an extension of the main roof. Many bungalows were made from kits by companies such as Sears and Aladdin. Considering the generally modest aspirations of such houses, architect-designed ones are typically of a higher caliber. Impressively, the Huntress house is given a “notable” rating in the Indiana Historic Sites and Structures Inventory for La Porte County, a marked achievement for a house of its modest size.
          The Huntress house has a symmetrical façade with the exception of the front door. The house is noteworthy for its fanciful and captivating double-gabled roof dormer with half-timbering and a decorative balustrade, a standout feature, evoking a combination of a Tudoresque and pagoda feel.
          The house may have been designed by La Porte’s hometown architect, George Wood Allen. It is included in Allen’s list of plans, but there is no verification that the built house was Allen’s design.
          Carroll B. Huntress was born on November 25, 1885 in Ogdensburg, New York, and arrived in La Porte in 1907. Huntress married Margery Bates Gish (born in 1887 in Jackson, Michigan) on November 3, 1909 in La Porte. The Huntresses had four children. Carroll Huntress was employed as a reporter, and then City Editor, of the La Porte Herald newspaper from 1907 to 1912. From 1912 to 1914, he was the Executive Secretary of the Chamber of Commerce. Later in 1914, the Huntresses left La Porte.
          In April 1916, ownership of 1127 Indiana Avenue passed from the Huntresses to William B. Gregg. The purchase price was $4,100. Gregg was a buyer for Samuel Fox’s Sons, and Gregg and his wife, Hazel, occupied the house until about 1930. By 1932, Gregg transferred ownership of the home to his father-in-law, Charles Johnson, who appears to have retained the house as an investment property for many years. At the same time, Gregg and his wife moved in with Johnson, who lived at 1704 Monroe Street. Eventually, with the passing of Gregg’s father-in-law, Gregg and his wife once again came to own 1127 Indiana Avenue, although they never lived in it again. By 1956, they sold it for good to George T. and Ninette Hupp. The Hupps did not occupy the house, but appear to have similarly retained it for investment.
          By April 1965, ownership of the house passed into the hands of Robyn W. and Lucille Gipson, who occupied the house for the longest period of time in its history, a span of roughly 25 years. They had one daughter, Joan Gipson-Fredin. Robyn and Lucille Gipson retired to Vista, California, in 1990, and died in 1996 and 2005, respectively.
          From 1996 through 1999, Sam Hill was the owner/occupant of the house, with his wife, Lowena, and two children. Originally from Chicago, he was a high draft pick in 1987 for the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks, and after a year with the Mavericks, he played professional basketball throughout Europe, Asia, and South America for nine years. He moved to La Porte shortly after retiring from pro sports. At the time he lived at 1127 Indiana Avenue, he was the Executive Director of the newly established Boys & Girls Clubs of La Porte County. Since then, he has been continuously involved in outreach for “at risk” youth in the inner city. While he has long since moved back to Chicago, Sam stated in an interview, “Everything I have done started in La Porte,” in reference to the basketball camps he ran at the Civic Auditorium. He wistfully stated, “I have very fond memories of La Porte, and wish I could still live there.”

Read more about this historic home, and many others in La Porte, in Preserve Historic La Porte’s book Historic Architecture of La Porte Indiana: The First 20 Years of the Candlelight Tour, available through Preserve Historic La Porte or the La Porte County Historical Society. Museum.

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