Built c. 1864
Written by Michele Barber
Leroy D. Webber, builder of 1420
Indiana Avenue, is listed in the city
directories at 1420 Indiana Avenue
beginning in 1871. However, the 1866
aerial map of the City of LaPorte shows
the house already at 1420 Indiana. The
home was built as a brick Victorian with
a major renovation in circa 1926 that
changed its appearance to a Mediter-
ranean design. The front porch was
removed, the front door was moved to
the north side of the house, and a coating
of stucco covered the brick.
L.D. Webber established his hardware business in
La Porte in 1851 and became one of the most successful
and esteemed businessmen of the city. He was born in
Chautauqua County, New York, on November 4, 1829, to
Stebbins and Emeline (Pope) Webber. In 1851, he married
Sarah Deniston with whom he had three children, Emma
who married Charles Bosserman and was the only surviving
child, and Ella and Sadie. L.D. died on December 9, 1895, of a
heart attack while at his store at the age of 66.
The Webber Hardware Company carried what was
probably the largest stock of hardware and was among the
largest of its kind in northern Indiana. At the time he opened
his hardware business, the railroad had not yet been
completed to La Porte, the population had not yet reached
the 5,000 mark, the city charter had not been granted until
the following year, and the school system was not established
for another five years.
By 1887, Charles Bosserman was listed as a proprietor of Webber Hardware along with L.D. Webber.
L.D. Webber was affiliated with the Democratic party and was elected mayor of La Porte for two terms. He served on the school board from 1870 to 1880, and was a member of the Masonic order, trustee of the Ruth C. Sabin Home, a member of the banking company of Hall, Weaver & Company, and, in 1857, on the committee to form an engine and bucket company and a hook and ladder company for the newly formed fire department. “Kindheartedness, generosity and manliness were the leading traits of his character; he was faithful to his friends, and without an enemy in the world, and family, town and county were bereaved by the taking off of this true and high-minded man.”
The Webber Hardware Company was eventually purchased by Edward Kabelin, Oma Grischow, and Walter Wilson and the name was retained. Mr. Kabelin eventually bought out the interests of his partners and became the proprietor of the business doing business at the same location of the Webber Hardware Company of 1857 prior to its move to its present location.
After L.D.’s passing, the residents of 1420 Indiana were L.D.’s wife Sarah, Stebbins S. Webber (Leroy’s brother and president of Webber Hardware), Charles (son-in-law, and secretary and treasurer of Webber Hardware) and Emma (Webber) Bosserman, and Leroy W. Bosserman (son and vice-president of Webber Hardware). Sarah died on August 11, 1913.
Charles and Emma Bosserman had four children, Leroy, Louise (pictured, Mrs. Emmet Scott), Helen (Mrs. Lee F. Dresser), and Blanche (Mrs. H.L. Crumpacker). The Bossermans remained living at 1420 Indiana until after Charles’ death on November 18, 1915. Emma passed away in 1933. By 1918, Louise and Emmet Scott moved from their home across the street at 1421 Indiana to 1420 Indiana. They lived there through the end of Emmet’s life (died in 1937) with Louise living there through the late 1950s. Emmet Scott was the proprietor of the La Porte Outing Sulky Company. He owned the first automobile in La Porte. They had one son, Hoyt.
Read about many other historic homes 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.
#5 Leroy D. Webber House
1420 Indiana Avenue