Much More than a Venue: The History of the Honeywell House
You may know the Honeywell House as an elegant gathering spot for weddings, social events or meetings. But, did you know that it has deep historical roots as well?
Conveniently located in Wabash at 720 N. Wabash Street, the former residence was home to Mark C. Honeywell ’s wife, Eugenia, from 1964 to 1974. Today, under The Honeywell Foundation’s management, the Honeywell House remains a lively entertainment and hospitality venue, and now serves as a cultural house museum.
Read on to learn more about the background and historic significance of the Honeywell House.
The History Before the Honeywell’s Home
Long before the late Mrs. Honeywell purchased the estate in 1959, construction was completed on the home in 1880. The three-story structure originally stood proud on the corner of Hill and Spring Streets, approximately one mile from its current location. The Beitman’s, owners of Beitman & Wolf Department store, purchased the home in the 1920’s. After the house was complete, they purchased an eight-acre lot on N. Wabash Street and subsequently moved the home to their new property. Due to the grand size of the house, the structure had to be cut in half, and pulled to its new location using the interurban tracks on Wabash Street. In 1940, the estate faced an unfortunate tragedy when the house caught fire. The third floor and Italianate features were removed, and the entire house was remodeled. The house was sold to the Baber family in 1940’s.
The Honeywell’s Plan for a Home
After the renovation, the home caught the eye of Eugenia Honeywell. She purchased the home in 1959 and began planning another renovation to update the estate’s architectural style to reflect that of a French manor. The home was given a facelift, complete with a mansard roof and brick façade.
Mrs. Honeywell moved into the estate in 1964. Shortly after, her husband and well-known business mogul, Mark C. Honeywell, passed away at age 90.
Eugenia lived in the home for 10 years until the house experienced an electrical fire, which ultimately was the cause of Mrs. Honeywell’s tragic death. Following this devastating incident, the Indiana University Foundation managed the house and its contents, and turned the home into a cultural center and museum for the surrounding community.
Recognized as a Historic Landmark in Indiana
The Honeywell House fire and loss of such a prominent public figure devastated the community of Wabash. But the Honeywell’s mission to provide artistic, civic, and educational programs continues.
In 1992, the Indiana University Foundation created a local board of overseers to manage both the structure and the land surrounding the property. And in 2010, the foundation graciously gifted the house and its contents to The Honeywell Foundation, which still owns and operates the venue today.
Today, the Honeywell House still proudly sits on N. Wabash Street, and reflects the passion for arts and culture that the Honeywell family shared and inspired throughout the community.
The Honeywell House is open for tours, social gatherings, weddings, musical performances and other special events. Standard hours of operation are from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and range for private events.
In addition, the venue features on-site, affordable catering options. Guests receive the full Honeywell experience -including the opportunity to dine on Eugenia Honeywell’s fine china and crystal.
For more information on the Honeywell House’s venue space or catering, visit the website here.