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William Conner Farm Architectural Drawings Collection

 Collection
Identifier: DADA-014

Scope and Contents

The collection contains site and topographical maps of the William Conner farm, which are not dated but likely date from 1934 when Eli Lilly purchased the farm and began extensive restoration work. The majority of the collection contains elevation and floor plans for buildings that Lilly had constructed for the site. All were drawn by the firm of Robert Frost Daggett, Architect, in 1934. These drawings are pencil on tracing paper. Buildings represented in the collection are a cottage; changes in a porch; a cistern, garage, heating plant, and well house. Also in the collection are elevation drawings and floor plans of the William Conner house dating from 1934, the time of the building’s restoration.

Dates

  • ca. 1934

Creator

Language of Materials

Materials entirely in English.

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Copyright Notice

Legal title, copyright, and literary rights reside with Drawings and Documents Archive, Archives and Special Collections, Ball State University Libraries, Muncie, IN. All requests to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted to Drawings and Documents Archive.

Historical Note

William Conner (1777-1855) was a fur-trader, farmer, and businessman who came to Indiana with his brother, John, in the winter of 1801-1802 and settled along the White River in the area north of Indianapolis and south of Muncie, what would later be known as Hamilton County. William lived and traded with members of the Delaware tribe, and eventually married Mekinges, a Delaware woman, with whom he had six children.

Despite this relationship, Conner began to work in governmental affairs which would lead to the removal of the Delaware out of Indiana. His wife and children left their log cabin home in 1820 and Conner married Elizabeth Chapman, a white woman, later that same year. They would have ten children together.

Conner began construction on their Federal-style brick home in 1823, locating it on a terrace edge overlooking the White River less than half a mile south of his log cabin. By this time Conner's large farm was well established and he was reaping crops of corn, rye, and oats. In his later years, Conner moved his large family in 1837 into Noblesville, the town he co-founded, and it is unclear who lived in the home at that time. It is presumed that Conner’s children lived there, or possibly tenant farmers. Conner’s Delaware children tried unsuccessfully to claim title to the land and house in the 1860s.

In 1915, the house was purchased by Indianapolis businessman Eugene Darrach, who added the kitchen onto the house. Despite efforts of maintaining the home, it began to fall into disrepair until pharmaceutical executive and philanthropist Eli Lilly (1885-1977) purchased the home in 1934. Combining his interests in farming and history, Lilly immediately sought to restore the existing structures and preserve the estate as a working farm, where he grew crops and raised livestock.

Now known as Conner Prairie, the site is a living history museum where visitors can tour the Conner house as well as other structures on the property.

Extent

4 Cubic Feet (1 flat file drawer)

Arrangement

The William Conner Farm Architectural Drawings are arranged by subject.

Custodial History

The William Conner Farm Architectural Drawings were received by Drawings and Documents Archive as a donation from Eli Lilly & Company on 1981/2/27.

Abstract

No additions are expected.

Processing Information

Collection processing completed 1987/8/11 by Andrew R. Seager. Finding aid created 2009/6/3 by Carol A. Street.
Title
William Conner Farm Architectural Drawings
Status
Completed
Author
Created by Carol A. Street.
Date
Created 2009/6/3
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Undetermined
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
English

Repository Details

Part of the Andrew Seager Archive of the Built Environment, A Division of University Libraries Repository

Contact:
Architecture Building, Room 120
Muncie IN 47306 USA
765-285-8441
765-285-3726 (Fax)