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Whispers of Yesteryear: 1202 N New Jersey St -- The Richard Shirley House

  • February 25, 2022 3:32 PM
    Message # 12625733
    Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Submitted by: Murphy Hendy, Friend of the ONS 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. Tucked into the tree-heavy corner of the ONS's southern-most boundary, sits a delightful 1900 classic foursquare; adorned with an iconic fieldstone front porch punctuated by gracious pillars; whose 2nd level is blanketed in exemplary shake shingles. Perhaps you've strolled by on a soft summer evening and have had the pleasure of chatting with the dynamic family who has called 1202 N New Jersey St home for the last few years. Matt and Rachael Hammond, along with their 4 beautiful children and tiny pup, Dolly, are happy to have the quintessential ONS streets at their disposal each and every day--as one might struggle to 'not' see the family passing actively by, with smiles and waves to share. Always engaging, kind, and present, Matt and Rachael tell us a little about their craftsman beauty and what drew them to these magical streets upon their purchase in the early Spring of 2019.

    There is a wonderful thing that happens in our hearts when we see a seamless blend of historic allure tastefully coupled with the modern amenities that a newly restored home can offer. 1202 N New Jersey St is 'that' home for Matt and Rachael. "We love that there’s something special around every corner: a huge main room for entertaining, a striking kitchen leading to a beautiful bar niche, sculpted ceilings, exposed brick, authentic windows, crown moulding, a strong bathroom count, and ample closet space (somewhat difficult to find in a house downtown)--not to mention being on one of our favorite streets in all of Indy". Matt continues, "I remember the first day we looked at it - we knew immediately that this house, this street, this neighborhood was where we belonged". The Hammonds are busy people with a wide-reaching daily schedule; they admitted they weren't interested in taking-on a home that required lots of immediate attention (which can be a challenging outcome to manifest as a historic-home-buyer, as many of us know). Matt, a former lawyer, re-invented his career at the onset of 2020 and has since created a huge virtual trivia following with his company, Hambone's Trivia (look him up!), where he hosts virtual trivia events of all kinds (corporate and leisure) from behind his big, booming 'radio voice'. Rachael is a productive Sales Manager with Salesforce, where she gets to utilize her strongest assets daily: communication and a careful attention to detail. They knew the ONS was where they wanted to land so they committed to the task at-hand with all their best feet forward (even Dolly's); and sure enough - they did it! They have been creating strong neighborhood bonds ever since!

    Thanks to Rachael's decisive eye for lighting and design, 1202's spaces are now filled with the warm glow of a thoughtful and exciting assortment of fixtures, personal to each room. While she was 'shining a new light' on things inside, Matt was busy working on the outdoor living aspect. The home shares an intimate relationship with Hwy 65, so his intentions were set on ensuring the yard felt more private and defined. Now with a new back perimeter fence, this corner of 12th and New Jersey claims it's ground and provides the family with multiple ways to enjoy Indy's marvelous Spring season.

    1202 N New Jersey St was built in 1900 by Richard A Shirley as his permanent residence, where he remained until 1928. He was the Secretary Treasurer of Johnson and Son Co, a known heating and ventilation contracting company. After Mr Johnson (the President of the company) retired, Richard was offered the leading position with the company, where he remained until he was later appointed to the Indianapolis Board of Public Works in 1921. 

    We can appreciate the vision Mr Shirley had when constructing this 'textbook' foursquare as we walk the interiors of this masterfully recreated ONS beauty. Today, the happy home boasts neutral & current interiors, refinished original hardwood floors, soaring ceilings (with striking 'tray' detailing in the formal dining room), elegant era mouldings, wide spatial transitions, countless original divided-light windows (some of which are casement windows), large & bright living spaces within a smart circular floorplan, multiple sets of distinguished double doors, and granite & tile choices that showcase the sophistication and class of 1202's modern lean.

    Rain or shine, The Hammonds can be seen walking along the storied streets of their beloved neighborhood, taking-in the sights and sounds of a community bursting with energy, grace, and history. Perhaps Mr Shirley found a similar inspiration in his new community at the turn of the century--as we know many of the beautiful homes along idyllic New Jersey St were already housing some of the first families of that famed period upon his later arrival. Matt, Rachael, the kiddos, and Dolly are shining examples of what it means to be good neighbors. Next time you stroll by the corner of 12th and New Jersey, take a look at that robust covered front porch; you may be promptly greeted by friendly voices from behind the handsome fieldstone facade. You might even hear a festive trivia host's voice reverberating from behind the home's countless assortment of windows and doors. 

    Thank you, Matt and Rachael, for allowing us a quick visit into your wonderful ONS abode!

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