The former home of renowned poet and suffragette Sarah T. Bolton, for whom Beech Grove’s largest park is named after, was auctioned Tuesday.
The home, located at 103 S. 17th Ave., Beech Grove, was built in 1863, and three of the original transom windows are still in it. The windows – installed over interior doors – allow for the passage of air and light between rooms when the doors are closed. The 2,100-square-foot home features three bedrooms, living and dining rooms, a detached garage and sunroom built in 1922.
Born Dec. 18, 1814, in Newport, Kentucky, Bolton was a child when her family moved to Indiana.
Often called Indiana’s “pioneer poet,” she is best known for her poem “Paddle Your Own Canoe.”
Bolton was married to Nathaniel Bolton, a newspaper editor who was appointed consul to Geneva, Switzerland, in 1855, and Sarah accompanied him to his new post and served as a correspondent for the The Cincinnati Commercial before they moved back to Indianapolis three year later. After his death she married Addison Reese but continued to use the name Bolton for all purposes except business.
She died Aug. 5, 1893, and had donated a large tract of land for a park in Beech Grove. She also donated 180 acres of land for the building of what was then known as the Indiana Hospital for the Insane.
Her home was subsequently used as a party house by her great-nephew, Lloyd Bolton Mann, before it was purchased by Tony and Phyllis Speziale in 1967. Mann, who is deceased, lived next door.
Tony Speziale, 50, the son of Phyllis and the late Tony Speziale, was reared in the home and is helping his mother move out.
“Since Dad died, Mom is downsizing,” Tony said. “The home is big and requires a lot of maintenance; that’s something that Mom doesn’t want to do. She’s moving into a condo.
“It’s a little hard on Mom to move. I hate to see it go. It’s a beautiful old house with a lot of charm and character.”
The timing of the sale works out well for Tony as he has returned home from missionary work in Papua, New Guinea, where for the past two years he served as an aviation operations manager. He has the time to help his mom, a retired nurse, get situated in her new condo while he works on raising a team of prayer and financial partners who want to invest in his missions work with Campus Crusade for Christ’s Jesus Film Team.
Speziale will be based out of Florida, but he will travel to developing countries to spread the word of Jesus. “Most of these children have never heard about Christ. The Jesus Film will have a powerful impact on them.
“All of my belongings fit into two crates,” he said, “which happen to still be in Papua. I’m hoping that people will find an interest in my missions work. They can reach me at 317-946-6729 or Anthony.Speziale@jesusfilm.org.