Object Record

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Object Name House
Catalog Number 91.180.1
Description The George A. and Frances Woodworth Ball home, known as "Oakhurst," is located on Minnetrista Boulevard in a wooded area.

Exterior: The front façade of Oakhurst faces southeast towards the White River. This two-story, frame, Shingle Style house, designed by Indianapolis architect Louis Gibson and finished in 1895, has a rectangular central mass adjoined at the rear by an ell wing. There is a porch on the northeastern one-third of the façade, a polygonal stoop porch on the northeast elevation and a rear, two-tier screened sleeping porch (historic addition) on the southwest end of the northwest elevation. The home has a basement and attic. Brick chimneys are located on the northeast end of the home and inside the rear screened porch. Tan Roman bricks mottled in blue to give it a gray appearance from a distance are used for the chimney. The home features a hipped roof with modern wood shingles resembling the originals. The roof has flared eaves that create wide overhangs, beneath which are wood dentils and Swiss-inspired wood brackets with S-curves. A frieze below the eaves and extending around the house features incised wood medallions with two alternating Sullivanesque designs. Wood shingles cover the second-story walls, while clapboards cover the first story. In general, the second floor windows meet the frieze, while a plain wood frieze caps the first floor windows. Each window has a wood sill. A wide wood trim with a natural finish surrounds most of the windows and doors. On the first floor, this trim features bead and reel detail. Various patterns of leaded glass are present throughout the house: circular, diamond, diamond and prism, diamond and jeweled ribbon and fish scale. One-over-one double-hung wood sash windows and double casement windows are also present throughout the house. Details throughout the home's exterior and interior embellish the natural finish in a subtle and skilled manner. All basement windows are single-light, horizontal wood hopper windows with rectangular shapes. The house has a Roman brick foundation.

In the interior, most of the flooring and woodwork is original. The interior features several original built-in features and historic fireplaces.

On all elevations, the second story wood shingles flare out slightly above the clapboard first story, much in the manner of seaside Shingle Style cottages of the Northeastern United States in the 1880s.

Interior: The front door (on the southeast elevation) leads into a small vestibule. The vestibule leads into the reception hall, followed to the northwest by the music room, elevated slightly above the reception hall. A library is located southwest (left) of the reception hall. The dining room is located on the opposite side, northeast of the reception hall. A formal stairway to the second story is located on the southwest end of the music room. On the opposite side of the music room, a few steps lead down toward the butler's pantry. A side entrance hall and stairway are located beyond the butler's pantry to the northeast. The kitchen is northwest of (behind) the side entrance hall. From the kitchen, the first floor continues on to the rear wing of the house, which includes a former pantry and a former open porch. The porch is now enclosed. Beyond this, a restroom and located in the addition to the first floor. The first floor plan retains its original plan, with the exception of the wing added adjacent to the pantry.

The vestibule features oak flooring laid in a herringbone pattern, simple baseboards and wainscoting, and decorative wood cornice molding. The leaded glass casement windows in the vestibule retain bead and reel ornament in their surrounds.

The reception hall has flooring similar to the vestibule, a simple wood baseboard, vertical paneled wood wainscoting capped by a wide horizontal panel with decorative bead and reel detail, and a wide decorative wood cornice molding with bead and reel detail. The southwest wall features a gas fireplace. The massive mantel face and hearth are composed of red-brown glazed terra cotta tiles. The wood mantelshelf contains intricate details such as repeated semicircular arches featuring bead detail and a shield motif. Two early electric sconces, possibly original, are located on the wall above the mantelshelf. A short partition wall featuring flush patterned panels outlined by bead and reel ornament separates the reception hall and music room. Square wood pilasters capped by corbels with bead and vegetal ornament flank the partition. A large ceiling beam runs between the pilasters. The partition opens at the center where two large scroll-like wood buttresses with vegetal ornament flank three ascending steps.
The music room continues the same pattern of flooring, baseboard, wainscoting and cornice molding. A built-in wood window seat with cabinets beneath it occupies the length of the back (northwest) wall under a ribbon of leaded glass casement windows. The formal stairway leads to the second floor on the southwest side of the music room.

The library is located southwest of the reception hall. Double pocket doors whose flush panels are surrounded with bead and reel detail separate the two rooms. The library features cherry woodwork, including the flooring, paneled wainscoting, cornice molding, and glass-front built-in bookcases found throughout the room. A wood beam runs between two corbelled square pilasters located on the southwest and northeast walls. This beam sets off the fireplace on the northwest wall, which may not be original but was in place by 1936 when local architects designed the black marble hearth and surround for the existing fireplace. It features a paneled recessed overmantel. Floor-to-ceiling paneling surrounds the wall around the fireplace. The glass-front bookcase to the right of the fireplace doubles as a concealed door leading to the sleeping porch. The southwest wall of the library features a rectangular bay window.

Pocket doors matching those previously described are located between the reception hall and dining room. The wood flooring has a simple banded border. The dining room woodwork features a limed oak treatment. The room features simple baseboards and a beamed ceiling of parallel beams, beaded on the sides. A massive beam at the northwest end of the dining room rests upon two square corbelled pilasters on the southwest and northeast walls, whose upper half is covered with bead and reel detail. These features frame the gas fireplace that is centered on the northwest wall. The fireplace hearth and surround features dark green glazed terra cotta tiles. The paneled wood portion of the surround beneath the mantelshelf may be a 1930s addition.

The dining room and music room both lead to the butler's pantry, which features inlaid wooden flooring and simple baseboards. The southwest and northeast walls feature built-in ceiling-height glass-front cabinetry with a buffet beneath the cabinets. Decorative wood spindles are between the buffet and cabinet shelves. A gray marble sink is adjacent to the cabinetry on the southwest wall.

A door on the northeast side of the butler's pantry leads to the back stairway. The newel post has a square base and top with central tapered column element. Three turned spindles on each tread support the handrail.

The kitchen, northwest of the stair hall, is characterized by its simple unornamented wood baseboards, door, and wood trim, which are painted off-white. The trim appears to be historic. A long metal sink with high oak back splash and metal counter top is located along the southeast wall. The sink is in the same location as indicated on historic plans, but it is a modern replacement.

The second floor was formerly the family's sleeping quarters, but has been converted to exhibit space. It retains its historic floor plan with the exception of two closets being removed and an addition at the northeast end of the northeast elevation. The wood floors and bead and reel wood trim around doors and windows have been preserved. Some of the second floor woodwork has a natural finish and some is painted white. One set of closets, originally located between two rooms on the southeast side of the second floor, were removed to open the flow of exhibit space.

The second floor contains a series of rooms located off a central hall that runs southwest to northeast. The previously mentioned formal staircase leads up to the southwest end of the hall. The bathroom at the southwest end of the hall retains a floor-to-ceiling height built-in cabinet. The bathroom features a leaded glass door with a figure of Adam, likely an historic addition. The southwest end of the second floor contains three exhibit rooms, two of which contain their original gas fireplaces with glazed terra cotta tile surrounds and brass grates with wreath and lamp motifs. The opposite side of the hall features one exhibit room and modern restrooms. The back stairway and a storage area are at the northeast end of the hall. The extending wing of the home is a private staff area. The back stairway leads to the attic, entered through an angled door. The attic is open and accommodates modern ductwork. A door under the back stairs on the first floor leads to the full basement, which features brick walls that divide the area into three sections.

Date 1895
Material wood/stone/brick
People Ball family
Ball, George Alexander
Ball, George Alexander family
Ball, Elisabeth
Ball, Frances Woodworth
Search Terms Ball family
Delaware County
Subjects Buildings
Classification Buildings
Imagefile 097\911801.JPG