The Hebron Meadows Historic District [†] is a suburban subdivision located approximately three miles east of downtown Evansville. It is a residential neighborhood characterized by a curvilinear subdivision. The name Hebron Meadows was inspired by the subdivision's proximity to the Hebron School, which is located just outside the northeast corner of the subdivision on Bellemeade Avenue. The district is generally bounded by Bellemeade Avenue on the north, South Colony Road on the west, Washington Avenue on the south, and Blue Ridge Road on the east. The Hebron Meadows historic district is approximately 52 acres and contains 86 parcels. Within the district, there are 86 residential houses, 81 (89 percent) of which are contributing and five (5 percent) of which are noncontributing, and five noncontributing structures (5 percent). The unique character of the neighborhood is derived from the uniformity of the streetscape and the varied single-family residential building styles and forms that reflect the Custom Developments (circa 1950-1973) Subtype of World War II-Era and Post-War Residential Developments (1940-1973), as described in the Residential Planning and Development in Indiana, 1940-1973 Multiple Property Documentation Form.
Two major roads intersect the district, Washington Avenue on the south and Bellemeade Avenue on the north. The neighborhood is bounded on the west by St. Mary's Medical Center, Washington Avenue on the south, multiple-family housing on the east, the Lincoln Village neighborhood, Mulberry Place, and an early 1960s neighborhood on the north. The boundaries of the district correspond to the five sections of plat maps that encompass the Hebron Meadows subdivision.
Prior to development in the late 1940s and early 1950s, the land encompassing the Hebron Meadows subdivision was part of a farmstead owned by Christian Buente, who sold pieces of his property to Wilburn R. Harrell, developer of the Hebron Meadows subdivision, in a series of transactions beginning with approximately 10 acres at the southwest corner of the Southeast quarter of Section 26, Township 6 South, Range 10 West in Knight Township2. The 1937 farmhouse remains along the north boundary at 4119 Mulberry Place and outside the Hebron Meadows subdivision.
The original 10 acres were divided into Lots 1-12 and filed with the City Planning Commission on June 23, 1948. Owners, Wilburn R. and Anna Mary Harrell signed the plat map and William L. Hitch, civil engineer and land surveyor certified the plat survey. Lots 1-10 on the Section 1 plat map all from Washington Avenue with W. R. Harrel owning the lots adjacent to the north boundary of Section 1 and Christ Buente owning the land further north. The beginning of South Meadow Road through the middle of the subdivision is shown with a center median. In addition, Protective Covenants were included with the filing of Section 1. These include:
The first house constructed in the subdivision was designed and built by Isabella Sullivan at 4000 Washington Avenue. The house was a two-story, Colonial Revival with three bedrooms, a wood paneled den, one full bath, two powder rooms, modern kitchen with yellow metal cabinets, General Electric (GE) dishwasher and disposal, full basement with a stone fireplace, gas furnace, and an attached two-car garage. The house was completed in 1948 and construction of the remaining nine houses continued until the brick Ranch house at 4100 Washington was completed in 1956.
The next development of Hebron Meadows includes the platting of Section 2 on November 8, 1950. Lots 13-21 are located north of Lots 6-12 along South Meadow Road and the east side of Blue Ridge Road. A half-circle median is located in the southeast corner of the subdivision and was included in the original plat map of Section 2. The curvilinear nature of the subdivision is created by Blue Ridge Road as it curved west to intersect the center road, South Meadow Road, and also by the insertion of a curved floating median in the corner of an overall rectangular subdivision. The frontage along Blue Ridge Road is the standard 40 feet; however, the frontage along South Meadow Road in Lot 13 and along the lots that front the median is 35 feet. As with Section 1, Wilburn R. and Anna Mary Harrell are the only listed owners and the same professional engineer, William L. Hitch, certified the plat map. The protective covenants for the new section are slightly different than for Section 1, in that there are only six clauses with the Caucasian race requirement and the utility easement excluded. Nine houses were constructed on the Lots 13-21 with the first house at 860 Blue Ridge Road completed in 1947. Two additional houses were completed in 1949 and the last house, a Contemporary ranch at 950 South Meadow Road was completed in 1959. Isabella Sullivan was also responsible with the construction and listing of 860 Blue Ridge Road, which was described in an advertisement as a one-story new home with six closets, a bath, large living and dining room combination, Crosley cabinets in the kitchen, and a Bryant gas furnace on a 100-foot lot for $22,500. Harrell's own home was located at 900 Blue Ridge Road and was a one-story, Colonial Revival house completed in 1949.
The Vanderburgh County Plan Commission approved Section 3 of Hebron Meadows on July 18, 1951. The new section was platted along the east side of Blue Ridge Road and extending the lots along the west side of Blue Ridge to the north side of Bellemeade Avenue. A total of 21 buildings were constructed on Lots 22-43. House building began in 1950 and continued until 1960 in Section 3. The civil engineer and surveyor for Section 3 was Sam Biggerstaff. The protective covenants filed with the plat map for Section 3 are the same as those for Section 2.
Section 4 of Hebron Meadows was approved on April 7, 1953 and included Lots 44-69 along South Colony Road from Bellemeade Avenue to Meadow Road. The same curve and floating half circle median are replicated in the southwest corner of the subdivision. As with Section 2, frontages along the curved median are 35 feet. Lots 44 and 69 along Meadow Road and Lots 53 and 54 along South Colony Road have building lines at only 30 feet, as the frontages of those lots is along Blue Ridge Road for Lots 44 and 69 and along Bellemeade Avenue for Lots 53 and 54. Construction began in 1954 with the completion of four houses along South Colony Road and Bellemeade Avenue. Sam Biggerstaff and Leo V. Weiss were the professional engineers and surveyors who certified Section 4. Wilburn and Anna Harrel signed as the owners. The protective covenants remained largely unchanged from Sections 2 and 3. One difference was in Covenant 4, which detailed the cost of each home to be built. Previous amounts were based on figures from 1948 and 1941; however, Section 4 includes a 1953 basis of $20,000. In addition, the minimum size of the ground floor in a one-story home was changed from 1200 square feet to 1250 square feet. Section 4 has the most dwellings with 26 homes built between 1954 and 1963.
In 1957, Chet Russell was hired by Better Homes and Gardens magazine to construct their 1957 Idea Home at 800 South Colony Road. The magazine hired architecture firm Wurster, Bernardi, and Emmons to create the plans for a house that would be a "gathering together of all that's good in today's building ideas.13" The same plans would be shared with 77 select local builders across the United States and Canada. Chet Russell was selected to construct an Idea Home in Hebron Meadows, Evansville. This was the second Idea Home constructed in Indiana south of Indianapolis and the last year that Better Homes & Gardens would feature a single architectural design. Construction of the house began with Tyler Excavating preparing Lot 50. The Better Homes and Gardens had a Five Star Plan Service in which they highlighted medium priced, two to four-bedroom houses of architectural achievement in their annual issue. The 1957 Idea Home was a California-style Contemporary home with a T-shaped plan designed to give division to indoor and outdoor activities. The house would have a family room which led to a screened porch via a 10-foot TwinDow sliding glass door to let in natural light. The house would have three bedrooms separate from other activities, a 400 square foot basement, carport and garage, 12-foot rearward glass wall in the living room to create a covered terrace, and a vertical board and batten with a brick entrance wall. The local Fabric Center was contracted to decorate and furnish 800 South Colony Road and the house was open for showing during September's National Home week.
The final section of Hebron Meadows, Section 5, was approved by the Vanderburgh County Plan Commission on March 25, 1957. Civil engineer, Leo V. Weiss, certified the survey and plat map. The final section included lots 70-92 along the north side of Bellemeade Avenue and both sides of Meadows Road to the just north of the intersection with South Colony Road and Blue Ridge Road. Owners that signed the plat map included developers, Wilburn and Anna Harrel, Stephen and Ruth Tager (Lot 77), Jerome and Annette Leeds (Lot 78), Ronald and Alvrane Sater (Lot 79), and William and Helen Schenk (Lot 92). A total of 17 houses were constructed in Section 5 between 1951 and 1965, two were constructed in 1968, and one building was constructed circa 2003. The protective covenants of Section 5 were expanded from the previous sections and include:
Hebron Meadows Historic District is located within the Knight Township, which was originally part of Pigeon Township and was once covered in dense forests. The first settlers to the area arrived in the winter of 1806 with Aeneas McCallister, who settled near the mouth of the Green River. McCallister later moved near Newburgh and operated a camp for religious workers. Additional settlers included Daniel Node, Daniel James, Samuel Lewis, John Sprinkle, William Briscoe, Solomon Vanada, Julius Wiggins, Henry James, David Aiken, and John Garnett. A second round of settlers arrived approximately four miles east of Evansville along Newburgh Road in 1814. Included in this group was Isaac Knight, the namesake of the township. When Knight was a boy, he and four friends (Peter and George Sprinkle, John and Jacob Upp) were attacked by a group of Pottawattamies and Kickapoos while they were collecting cane to feed their cattle. The boys had crossed the Ohio River into Indiana and were playing loudly while they worked when they were attacked. Two of the boys, Peter (age 17) and John (age 7) were killed, while the other three were captured. The group of Kickapoos took George and Jacob and Isaac was taken north by the Pottawattamies. Isaac suffered for months as they traveled to the Chicago area, where he became ill due to a smallpox vaccination he received just before his capture. Many other members of the tribe contracted the disease and died. He was adopted by a family and approximately a year and a half after his capture, Isaac managed to escape during a trip to a trading post near Lake Michigan. He snuck out at night and made contact with a barge captain, Captain Mills, who agreed to take him to Detroit. He hid in a cabinet while his adopted mother searched for him on the barge. Upon his arrival in Detroit, a company of soldiers agreed to take him to Fort Maumee. He made his way to Cincinnati and then to Louisville. He finally made his way home to his family four years after his capture. The other two boys also escaped and made it home a few months prior to his return. As an adult, Knight moved to Vanderburgh County and became a well-known and respected citizen.
While the Knight Township did not grow very quickly, the population began to increase in 1835 and a small number of immigrants arrived. By 1910, the Church of Hebron was established in a small frame structure with the first pastor, Reverend Ritchie. The Cumberland Presbyterians held camp meetings led by James McGrady. Due to the small memberships of each congregation, they alternated Sunday services. A branch of the Little Sisters of the Poor was founded in Evansville in 1887 and John A. Reitz donated 17 acres on Lincoln Avenue to the construction of a building to be used in the care of the elderly poor. He had a three-story brick building constructed. Additionally, a Hospital for the Insane was located in the Knight Township on former farmland approximately three miles from Evansville. The Township had no towns of importance in the early twentieth century.
In the 1920s, Evansville began to focus on the manufacturing of gasoline engines with the Hercules Gas Engine Company and the auto industry also began to grow. Due to Evansville's location along the Ohio River and the railroad networks available, shipping manufactured products was easily accomplished. Industrial manufacturing plants were constructed and operated during the 1920s, which helped Evansville survive the Great Depression of the 1930s.
As pressure and tensions mounted in Europe in the late 1930s, Indiana was beginning to recover from the impacts of a collapsed housing market and the Great Depression. Federal relief funding decreased yearly and businesses and industries began to rebound. Manufacturing increased and in 1939 was almost equal to that of 1929 with $2.2 to 2.5 billion. Indiana was considered part of the industrial heartland and was ranked ninth in the value of manufactured products among the lower 48 of the United States. Evansville fared better than other cities during the Great Depression due to the continued profitability of the automobile manufacturing. Due to Federal public work agencies, such as the Works Progress Administration (WPA), thousands of men and women were employed or engaged in work. Increased manufacturing of the growing refrigeration industry helped to pull Evansville out of the Depression by 1936.
World War II Years, 1940-1945
The 1941 Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor launched the United States into World War II. As Evansville was already a manufacturing and industrial center in Indiana, it received a number of wartime contracts, which further increased the stature of the city and aided to increase the population. By 1942, Evansville began constructing an aircraft manufacturing plant and a shipyard. In addition to the increase in industry, the population of Evansville increased from 100,000 to 150,000 and approximately 62,000 people were engaged in wartime manufacturing, including the Evansville Shipyard, Chrysler, Serval, Briggs, Republic Aviation, Sunbeam, and Hoosier Cardinal. Entertainment venues increased as well due to the proximity to Camp Breckinridge in Morganfield, Kentucky, and Fort Campbell in Hopkinsville, Kentucky. Road systems were improved due to the rapid industrialization and as the need to move people and goods increased throughout the war years. Approximately 1,100 miles of state highways were constructed or improved during this period.
The shift to industry also took a toll on the agricultural sector as the labor for industrial production often came from rural economies. Farm populations in Indiana decreased by almost 20 percent between 1940 and 1945 as younger people moved to the population centers, including Evansville. The societal dynamics were shifting toward city living due to the increased availability of work in the city's as well as the decreased need for farm labor due to new technology. The number of farms decreased from 185,549 in 1940 to 175,970 in 1945. Advances in house construction increased in the late 1930s due to the Federal Housing Authority's (FHA) efforts. Federally insured mortgages in Indiana increased and the need for housing increased in the early 1940s. Approximately 8,700 dwellings were constructed between July 1940 and July 1941 in areas including Evansville, Fort Wayne, Gary‑Hammond, Indianapolis, and South Bend. Vacancies were cited in Evansville during the mid-1940s, indicating that the community may have experienced overbuilding; however, this proved false as acute shortages appeared in Evansville as war housing for workers in critical defense areas increased and construction stalled. The housing shortage lasted until the summer of 1942 when large-scale housing projects began. Evansville developed areas such as Diamond Villa, which included approximately 200 housing units for Chrysler employees, which had been converted to ordnance production rather than automobiles.
Post-War Era, 1945-1960
The period following the end of World War II saw a dramatic housing boom due in part to thousands of returning soldiers and natural population growth. Municipal planning increased as communities recognized the need to coordinate growth. The housing boom manifested in "bedroom" or "freeway" suburbs fueled by the increase in automobile ownership, advances in building technology, and the Baby Boom population increase. Critical housing shortages occurred across the United States and the availability of low cost, long term mortgages, especially for veterans, spurred the increase in homeownership. The Veterans' Emergency Housing Program (VEHP) was established in 1946 and provided the federal government with the Section 8 page 19 avenue to address the housing crisis for veterans after the war. The goal of the program was to create a controlled realty market that increased the supply of homes. An emphasis was placed on using prefabricated materials for housing and prefabricated houses. The act was amended in 1947 to all veterans to purchase government-owned war housing that was no longer in use, which included 185 units in Evansville's Diamond Villa. Evansville was one of the leading areas in the number of applications for FHA housing under VEHP. Problems arose due to a lack of long-term, large-scale impacts on private building operations, including a shortage of materials and increased building operation costs. Many veterans could not afford the increased costs of housing construction. Building costs in Indiana increased and the average mortgage loans also increased.
In 1944, the Serviceman's Readjustment Act, also known as the "G.I. Bill of Rights," was enacted to facilitate integration of veterans into civilian life and to offset economic and social problems returning veterans may experience. Provisions were put in place to address employment and education, including college or vocational school funding or small business loans. The new generation of college-bound veterans were more likely to reach middle-class status in the future. College campuses in Indiana experienced an increase in veteran populations, including Evansville College.
From the 1940s and into the early 1950s, housing trends leaned toward the quick construction of affordable and efficient homes in an effort to meet the increased need for immediate housing. Publications for developers seeking FHA financing were produced including Subdivision Development (1935), Planning Neighborhoods for Small Houses (1936), Planning Profitable Neighborhoods (1935), Successful Subdivisions (1940), and the FHA's Minimum Property Requirements (1942).
Following the end of the war, economic recovery began with the return of free trade, business expansion, and stable consumer markets. Innovation, progress, and modernity were emphatically continued following the war period. Population boomed, as did consumerism and the middle class began to seem more attainable. Vanderburgh County experienced a population boom of more that 22 percent, while Evansville increased almost 33 percent population growth in the 1940s. Through the 1950s and 1960s, Evansville contributed to the county's population, even as growth slowed due to the removal of wartime economy, recessions, and administrative issues. In 1950, 80 percent of the county's population resided in Evansville and by 1960, that had increased to 85 percent. An economic downturn in the 1960s caused some to leave the city, but the county remained stable. In addition to the dramatic population changes, the concept of the modern family was also changing. Marriages declined nationally, but Indiana retained relatively high marriage rates in the 1950s. Changing patterns of the family were also driving the increased desire for homeownership. The family structure was evolving due to an increase in number of young people getting married, which also extended the potential childrearing years. In Indiana, the average age of a bride was 19.5 years and average groom age was 22.6 years. Increased birth rates accompanied the evolution of the family from multi-generational families, which were prevalent prior to World War II, to an emphasis on the nuclear family, generally consisting of a husband, wife, and children. Typical family ideals included a working husband and a homemaking wife, which tended to feminize the home. The nuclear family ideal was important to the middle and upper class, in which sovereignty, happiness, and homeownership wrapped into the American dream. The nuclear family ideal directly impacted housing and development patterns as the demand for single-family housing in private suburbs increased. The societal framework of the family reinforced definitions of gender roles, where the home became a woman's domestic space. Actual families rarely followed the ideal, as almost 329, 000 married women went to work in Indiana by 1960.
As economic growth continued, the perceptions of life also shifted, and the new generation began working towards reaching middle-class status. Housing demands for larger houses increased and the demand for small, efficient housing decreased. Indiana experienced an era of high employment rates, increased incomes, and a continued shift away from agricultural economies. With this shift came a decrease in farm properties and the expansion of city boundaries, such as in Evansville with the expansion east toward Newburgh.
In the mid-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries, housing was mostly clustered around the central core, including Evansville. As populations increased, residential housing expanded from the central core into the east and west sides. The East Side of Evansville became the housing choice of the upper- and middle-class families, most of which were white collar. The west side of Evansville was more commonly occupied by blue collar families. In the 1940s and 1950s, farmers began selling land to developers and housing was more commonly found on the urban-rural fringe. The farmland was ideal for builders as they could purchase large plots of cleared land. The rapid expansion caused Evansville to pass annexation measures in 1953 and concern for this growth spurred the City to file seven annexation ordinances and a five-year plan by 1959. Hebron Meadows was included in the area annexed by the City in the 1950s. Due to annexation, the population of Evansville increased by 25,525 persons.
Housing was not excluded from discrimination and segregation. Minority populations, especially African Americans, migrated north seeking work opportunities in the early twentieth century. Indiana received more than 51,000 African Americans between 1910 and 1930; however, the majority concentrated in the more northern urban centers, such as Indianapolis, Fort Wayne, and others. Other minority groups included Mexican and European immigrants from Italy, Greece, Poland, Russia, and Germany. Evansville experienced tragic objections to the minority populations, including race riots and housing discrimination became common as a response. Many subdivisions in Evansville had clauses stating property could only be sold to those of the Caucasian race, including Hebron Meadows. In the 1948 Shelley v Kraemer case, the US Supreme Court ruled that the racially restrictive covenants were not enforceable and were unconstitutional; however, change was not swift and racial segregation continued through privatized discrimination in many 1950s and 1960s communities. Discrimination was not limited to race, but also extended to gender, as females were often omitted and not seen as legal entities.
Ethnic discrimination was also not uncommon in Indiana. Large Jewish populations were centered in communities including Evansville, Fort Wayne, Indianapolis, and South Bend. In his 1959 testimony to the US Commission on Civil Rights, Eugene Sugarman of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and Federation of Jewish Philanthropies stated that Indiana had areas that Jews were restricted from in Indianapolis, Gary, Michigan City, and Evansville. Reports of discrimination against Jewish populations in Evansville may have been inflated. Several newspaper articles published in the Jewish Post and Opinion had local Jewish community leaders dispelling those accusations of widespread discrimination. An article published on February 6, 1959 also sought to dispel the accusation. Evansville was placed on the ALD's housing discrimination list based on several complaints that had been received stating that the Johnson Place subdivision was off limits to Jews. Regional Director of the ADL, Robert Gordon, stated that several Jews charged that the price of lots was substantially higher when they attempted to purchase the land and that even though one individual was willing to meet the higher cost, the land was unavailable. Gordon claimed that the ADL report was based on complaints that may have been over a year old and that the report did not indicate that the discrimination in Evansville was a "broad overall general complaint." The owner of the subdivision in question denied the accusations, stating that he had never been seriously approached by a Jewish buyer, that there were no restrictive covenants, and that he had many good Jewish friends he would "consider an asset to this subdivision or any other." The executive committee of the Jewish Community Council issued a statement on February 5 that the press release "presented an untrue and distorted picture of housing conditions in Evansville" and that "discrimination is at a minimum" in the city. According to a second article published on October 2, 1959, a nationwide report said a 35-lot subdivision in a desirable section was "off limits" to Jews. The Evansville Jewish community "got hot under the collar" and said the report was false. Due to the outcry, Evansville was taken off the ADL's housing discrimination list.
Development of Hebron Meadows
The 52-acre Hebron Meadows subdivision was sold in parts to Wilburn R. Harrell and his wife, Anna Mary, by Christian Buente beginning in 1948. The deed to Harrell for the 10 acres that would become Section 1 contained covenants as part of the sale. Buente sold the property to Harrell with the intent that it would be platted as a subdivision. The deed covenants are similar to the protective covenants of Section 156. The eight covenants include:
The planning commission approved the new Hebron Meadows subdivision in 1948. The new 62-acre tract was planned to be adjacent to Lincoln Village and extending from Washington Avenue to Lincoln Avenue, to the east of the hospital property, and west of Hebron School. The first twelve lots would be immediately available along Washington Avenue and one home was already under construction in 1948. The average lot size was planned to be 100 feet by 17 5 feet with restrictions to provide homes in the $15,000 to $25,000 range.
The developer of Hebron Meadows was Wilburn R. Harrell, who had also developed Harrellton Court to the southwest of Hebron Meadows on the south side of Washington Avenue and St. Michael's Court, which he started after Hebron Meadows in the early mid-1950s. Harrell was born in White County, Illinois and moved to Evansville in 1919. He graduated from Bradley University and taught industrial arts for 25 years, 19 of which were spent at Reitz High School. In 1930, he was elected as a member of the Phi Sigma Phi, national honorary fraternity in education and was attending the Bradley Poly-Technical Institution to complete a course for supervisors of industrial and vocational education. In 1943, Harrell was one of several people who completed the "Problems in Personnel Administration" war training course conducted in Evansville by Indiana State University School of Business. Harrell developed Harrellton Court and built his own two-story Colonial house in the development on Washington Avenue. In 1949, he sold his house with the help of local realtor, Isabella Sullivan, and planned to build a new, smaller house in his newest development, Hebron Meadows. Harrel was an active member of community and attended the Washington Avenue Presbyterian Church, where he served as a deacon. The Evansville Press listed Harrel as one of Evansville's leading businessmen in 1954. In 1958, Harrell was elected as the president of the Vanderburgh County Tuberculosis Association, where he had previously served as Vice President. He was elected as the treasurer of the Downtown Optimist Club in 1959. Harrell was also a member of the New Haven Masonic Lodge, Scottish Rite, Hadi Shrine, the Real Estate Board, Chamber of Commerce, and was a veteran of World War I. After teaching for 25 years, Harrell became a Hoosier Cardinal Corporation executive before he founded and served as president and general manager of Harrell Building Supplies for eight years. In 1958, Harrell was elected as a director of the First Acceptance Corporation, Anderson, Indiana, which was a newly organized finance firm that included small individual loans. In 1960, Harrell was elected a director of the Southern Securities Corporation, an Evansville brokerage firm. Harrell built his Colonial Revival home at 900 Blue Ridge Road within the Hebron Meadows subdivision. One of his hobbies was horticulture and he was especially interested in dogwood trees, which are difficult to grow in Indiana. However, he included the Cherokee Princess and Cloud 9 varieties of dogwood trees in the landscaping and aesthetic of Hebron Meadows. Dogwoods were planted on individual lots and in the medians.
Selling in Indiana
Post-war housing markets were often competitive, and the sale and promotion of a new community was likely forefront in a developer's plan. Crafting the name of the subdivision was part of the marketing strategy. Naming practices were often an attempt to evoke perceptions of country living. Terms including "Estates," "Hills," "Meadows," and others were often used to romanticize the concept of the fringe developments. Hebron Meadows was no exception. In 1916, the Hebron School was constructed on Bellemeade Avenue as a two-room school building. The school was located across the street from the Bethel Temple and was a consolidation of three schools, including Smythe, Terry, and Aiken schools. An addition was added to the rear in 1938, wings were added in 1953 and 1954, and in 1965 construction of a new Hebron School was began just south of the old school, which was torn down in 1982. Evansville annexed the school in the 1950s. The name Hebron is likely derived from the oldest city and one of the holiest places in Palestine. The original city of Hebron was mentioned in the Bible 87 times and is associated with Abraham, King David, and others. The name was used previously in Knight Township as the name of a church and the nearby school.
Newspapers provided the most efficient medium for capturing local attention in the post-war era. Advertisements touted Hebron Meadows as "exclusive," "desirable, "beautiful new subdivision," "finest residential area," "excellent location," "choice East side," "Here's Glamour," "heart of Evansville's most popular East side," and "Cream of the Crop."70 In addition to the descriptions of the houses for sale, the lots, and the subdivision, photos of the houses were provided on occasion and the 1957 Better Homes & Gardens Idea Home was built in Hebron Meadows and advertised to attract middle-and upper-class buyers.
Multiple experienced realtors in the Evansville area advertised, listed, and sold houses within Hebron Meadows. Some of the most prominent include Blackwell & Company Real Estate, Citizens Realty & Insurance, Emge Realty, Goebel Realtors, Hamburg, Huber Realty Company, Huegel's Gallery of Homes, Kattman Realtors, Mrs. Sullivan & Brown, Inc., Raeber Realty & Insurance Company, Mrs. Fleeta D Powell, and Town & Country Realtors. Multiple small businesses and private owners also advertised in the local newspapers. Mrs. Isabella Sullivan was the first and only woman to have been elected as the president of the Evansville Board of Realtors when she dies in 1973. A native of Paducah, Kentucky, Sullivan arrived in Evansville in 1935 and she entered the real estate business in 1937 at the urging of Walter Stumpf, developer of Lincoln Manor and Arcadian Acres. Sullivan built her own home at 2110 E. Chandler Avenue, designed and built the neighboring house, and ended up constructing 380 homes in Evansville's premier subdivisions, including Hebron Meadows and Arcadian Acres. Mrs. Sullivan was a key element to making the ranch style popular in Evansville and she developed a preference for stone veneer, both of which are common elements in the Hebron Meadows development. She also focused on designing homes from a woman's viewpoint and emphasized the housewife's convenience and was quoted as saying, "After all, it's the wife who spends the most time in them." In 1956, Sullivan was highlighted in the Evansville Courier & Press as one of Evansville's Business, Industrial Leaders. She was known to build a home, move into it, furnish it, live in it, and then sell it. She believed that it gave the dwelling a "homey" feel that attracted buyers.
In addition to advertisement, builders in the 1950s developed relationships with architects to provide them with house plans, elevation designs, and other visual aids to attract buyers. Ralph Robert (Bob) Knapp of Evansville graduated in 1951 from the University of Illinois and returned to Evansville to start his career as a residential architect. One of his designs won third prize at the Indianapolis Home Show. He worked with established builders, provided services to the Werner Realty Company, and invested in Modern Homes of Evansville, Inc. In the 1950s, he worked on private commissions alongside developers on architect-designed homes within subdivisions, which became an innovative approach to residential architecture and helped to spur experimentation in design, integrate indoor-outdoor space, incorporate contemporary building materials, and shift the design of interior spaces. An example of a Bob Knapp designed home in Hebron Meadows was at 4220 Bellemeade Avenue for Mr. and Mrs. Ronald Sater.
Hebron Meadows represents one of the first middle- and upper-class subdivisions in the East Side of Evansville. Hebron Meadows is unique among first-tier suburban development for its contribution to the growth and expansion of Evansville's East Side. In the 1950s, the East Side was removed from the Downtown area and commercial growth was encouraged in specific locations along Green River Road. Zoning laws and residents of the Hebron Meadows, Harrellton Court, and other neighborhoods followed the planning commission and zoning laws for any change that would affect the property value and aesthetic of their neighborhoods. It is also an excellent example of a middle- to upper-class subdivision where restrictions were put in place to maintain a high level of construction and continuity in construction materials and styles.
Hebron Meadows Historic District is significant under National Register Criterion C for its association with the historic context "Residential Architectural Styles and Building Types in Evansville, 1945-1965." Overall applicable contexts are summarized from the Residential Planning and Development in Indiana, 1940-1973, Multiple Property Documentation Form and other primary and secondary sources.
The Multiple Property Documentation Form identifies five subtypes of post-war residential developments. Hebron Meadows is an example of the Subtype: Custom Development, c. 1950-19. This Custom Development subtype was likely developed after 1950 when the trend towards small and efficient dwellings was shifting to the homebuyer as a "sophisticated consumer with personal choice." These types of developments tend to be "more distinguished in their design, layout, and configuration�more expensive to develop." It is more common to have architect-designed or custom-builder homes, rather a model home, housing stock, or repetitious building plans. The typical layout of Custom Developments is the curvilinear arrangement; however, gridded and rural lane arrangements are also found. A characteristic of Custom Developments is the utilization of substantial setbacks in order to highlight the natural qualities of the site. This development subtype often features moderate and high-end architectural details. Typical building types include Ranch, Split-level, Bi-level, and Massed two-story. Typical architectural styles include Contemporary, Builder Modern, and Neo-Eclectic.
Residential Development Characteristics — Hebron Meadows
The Multiple Property Documentation Form identifies key character components of residential developments, which include relationship to the natural site; street network and hardscape elements; spatial organization; landscaping; utility infrastructure; and amenities.
† Adapted from:, Ryan M. VanDyke/Senior Principal Investigator, Gray & Pape, Inc., Hebron Meadows Historic District, nomination document, 2020, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.
Bellemeade Avenue • Blue Ridge Road • Colony Road South • Meadow Road South • Washington Avenue