Whispers of Yesteryear: 1403 N Park Ave -- The Frank Mummenhoff Home.

  • November 29, 2021 9:32 AM
    Message # 12153768
    Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Submitted by: Murphy Hendy, ONS resident and Realtor

    The magic of the past sings poetically through the rooftops and tree canopies of downtown's Old Northside, painting the grounded historic streets with an ominous yet strangely familiar haunt from yesteryear. Get your pearly-whites ready! We are heading over to 1403 N. Park Ave to say 'Hi' to our beloved neighbor & local dentist, Ashley Gray, and her husband, Alan Depauw, to see their beautiful 1885 Queen Anne, situated perfectly among the 'smiling' row of neighboring homes and arching trees. 

    The "Frank Mummenhoff House" was built for Mr. Mummenhoff--the President of the Western Produce Company--and his family. The then-well-known wholesale distributor of fruit and produce was located at 210 E. Maryland St (the corner of Delaware & Maryland), so Frank's chosen residential site on Park would prove to be a convenient one! Frank raised his family in the handsome home until his death in 1902; at which point, his wife, Lena, would remain the property's caregiver in his absence for another 20 years. 

    Like many of our magnificent ONS beauties, 1403 N. Park would lay vacant for years following the earliest kinetic decades of the 20th century. An eerie (yet familiar) photo of a boarded-up, abandoned, and structurally compromised home dating back to 1979 shows the fanciful facade stripped of its sparkling spirit, which had so dutifully represented the Mummenhoff family for nearly 55 years. The home would change hands a couple of times during this period of neighborhood revitalization until it underwent a significant restoration in the 90's, thanks to the previous owners who delivered the former beauty from 'hazard' to 'home'. Little did the "Mummenhoff House" know, hands would change once more during the vibrant summer months of 2014; which brings us to our current residents! 

    Relocating to Indianapolis from Kentucky, Ashley began a diligent house-hunting adventure in Meridian Kessler (admittedly, she knew enough of her soon-to-be city to begin her 'old house' quest up there but wasn't finding the 'one'). Blissfully unaware of the exciting prospects that await her in Indy's famed downtown historic districts, Ashley was invited into the home of a friend-of-a-friend's (who happened to live here in the ONS) for a fun-filled visit equipped with an exploration of the area and its stunning homes. The rest is history! (it seems fitting to use this phrase here). "I still remember the feeling of awe when I walked down Park to see all the mature trees and beautiful homes lining the street…I knew this was where I wanted to be", Ashley remembers fondly. 1403 N. Park was eager to find her buyer (after being on the market for 5 months) and Ashley was eager to find her home (after realizing she wanted to manifest this reality in the newly-discovered ONS!). Without hesitation, she made the investment into her future and became Park's new owner with the intention to continue the restoration and initiate the necessary 'cosmetic updates' the home was anxious to receive (nearly 20 years since the big 90's overhaul). Today, we celebrate those 90's renovations, as they were a big part of our neighborhood's continued visibility, growing market integrity, and desirability (among other things). 

    "The home was a muted brown color that didn’t properly celebrate it’s details", Ashley confirms. "The first thing I did was get the exterior stripped and painted. I also installed a beautiful perimeter fence to improve the curb appeal". Switching gears, she elaborates, "Inside, I brought wood flooring and new windows back into over 1/2 of the home. The walls were dark with heavy window treatments, so I opted for light grey tones and bare windows to bring more natural light in and show off the raw woodwork! I thoughtfully replaced all light switch plates with the iconic egg & dart pattern while also switching-out the modern floor vents with Victorian-inspired cast iron covers". Ashley summarizes, "I’ve truly tried to find a balance between new and vintage".

    The striking and curvy foyer stairwell, the classical interior format boasting broad transitions, the unpainted woodwork & high ceilings, the relation between the kitchen and living room, the versatile and rare 2nd floor family room, and the pool (to name a few) are some of the things that make Ashley and Alan happy to call 1403 N. Park home today! Anyone who knows Ashley knows she is a gal who likes to ensure her nearest-and-dearest have the ability to congregate and gather with ease--whether their stay is brief or extended--all of which were critical deciding-factors to her upon purchase; but it didn't come without a hefty amount of planning and execution over the years. She describes one project, in particular, that she is quite proud of today: the kitchen remodel. "I was able to upcycle the beautiful cabinetry the previous owners installed; but I incorporated wood flooring, soapstone countertops, a large and ornate custom island, a beautiful backsplash, and a butler’s pantry (which used to be a designated cat room!) for a truly unique and highly functional kitchen".  A significant amount of attention was also given to the storage (or lack-there-of) throughout the home. We old-house-dwellers can surely relate to this. She acknowledges the biggest hurdle was creating more organization in places it wasn't previously for better function throughout the home. With the help and skill of her handy and talented husband, Alan, all closets (and the 2nd floor washer/dryer area) were adorned with beautiful and intuitive custom wood shelving, creating maximum organizational possibilities with minimal challenges. This, alone, has many of us swooning; am I right?

    Ashley and Alan: thank you for allowing us into your beautiful, bright, and smiling home (okay, I'll stop with the cheeky dentist references)! The elegance and grace that exists now harkens back to the early days in which Frank and Lena roamed these same rooms, excited for their family's future here in the beautiful (and newly developing) Old Northside. Thanks to Ashley and Alan's continued dedication and reverence for this authentic 1885 regal residence, they, too, can continue to roam these storied spaces with their little ones as they celebrate their growing family together here in our cherished (and now seasoned) Old Northside neighborhood. The "Mummenhoff House" has her sparkling spirit back and is looking better than ever! Smile and say cheese!


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