When former Indiana First Lady Judy O’Bannon heard that this picturesque Queen Anne went on the market recently, she nearly bought it—again. O’Bannon and her late husband, Frank, moved into the four-bedroom home in 1989 when Frank was lieutenant governor, and they remained until he became governor in 1996. “We loved that house. It was so much fun, and pretty dramatic,” she says, referring to the hand-painted ceilings, stained-glass windows, ornate fretwork, and wraparound porch. Though Judy usually favored a rustic, country style, she was captivated by the home’s history and craftsmanship, especially the intricate mantels that were hand-carved by an all-female woodworking company at the turn of the 20th century.
Those stately details were common when patent attorney Charles Thornton built the 4,778-square-foot manse in 1885 in the heart of the Old Northside, known then as the city’s most fashionable neighborhood. Just a mile north of downtown’s commercial district, the prestigious enclave once claimed Indy’s big names, including President Benjamin Harrison. The area fell into decline after World War I, and many of the original homes were torn down. But in the 1970s, interest in the historic community resurged, and people began desiring the quiet, tree-lined streets of the Old Northside once again.
During that time, the house was bought and refurbished by noted preservationist Scott Keller, who restores residences in Indianapolis, Chicago, Aspen, and San Francisco. He revamped the hardwood floors, rebuilt the tile fireplaces, and hired local artist Becky Garland to repaint the decorative ceilings. The current owners, Realtor Peg Tharp Atherton and husband Tom, finished the third-floor attic and turret, updated the master bath and kitchen (which already highlighted an antique stove and range reproduction), and added a custom wine cellar and wet bar.
When driving through the Old Northside, Judy admits that sometimes she’ll pull over to park in front of her former place and reminisce about the memories she and Frank created there. But she passed on repurchasing it—leaving the stunning Victorian house on the market for a new family to enjoy.
Want to buy it?
Address: 1226 Broadway St.
List price: $599,900
Agent: Peg Tharp Atherton, F.C. Tucker Co.