Newfields has put the historic Westerley house and gardens—a property in the Golden Hill neighborhood that has been used for events and to house the museum’s leader—on the market for $2.2 million, following a market analysis conducted late last year.
The property at 3744 Spring Hollow Road was listed Friday, with showings beginning over the weekend, said Pegg Kennedy, a broker with F.C. Tucker who has the listing.
It’s the first time the four-bedroom, eight-bathroom Tudor-style house—built in 1922— has been on the market since the 1930s. The house is more than 9,500 square feet and sits on a 3.45-acre lot.
“We had our first showing on Sunday, and we have a pretty busy week [of showings] in the week ahead,” Kennedy said. “There’s a lot of interest.”
A Newfields spokesman did not respond to questions about the listing Tuesday afternoon. But Kennedy said Newfields leaders had been in talks to sell the property even before the departure of former Newfields President Charles Venable, who resigned in February following a race-related controversy.
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Kennedy said Venable “had wanted to move out” of the house last year, as part of Newfields’ efforts to reduce costs and provide a less-public residence for its chief executive. The property—which is less than a half-mile south of the Newfields campus at 38th Street and Michigan Road—was also “distracting” from the museum’s mission and using resources the organization need to use elsewhere, including with landscaping and horticulture on the Newfields campus, Kennedy said.
“I think this is probably where it was on track [to be] anyway,” Kennedy said, referring to the decision to sell.
The original owner of the house was Josephine Raymond Doud. She purchased the land in 1922 and hired Jens Jensen to develop its English-style landscape design and Frederick Wallick to design the house, according to The Cultural Landscape Foundation.
In the 1930s, George Clowes, then research director at Eli Lilly and Co., and his wife purchased the estate and named it “Westerley” (they maintained a house in Massachusetts called “Easterly”), according to the Indiana Historical Society. The couple purchased property next door in 1944 to expand the gardens and later passed the estate to their son, Allen, who worked with an architect to restore the gardens.
The family donated the property to the Indianapolis Museum of Art—now Newfields—in 2001. Newfields had to obtain the Clowes family’s permission to sell the property under the terms of the bequeathment, Kennedy said.
Similar homes in the neighborhood have sold recently for nearly $4 million, she said.
The property includes the two lots, one with the house and the other with the expanded garden, and overlooks the White River and Central Canal. The grounds include courtyards, walled gardens and a greenhouse, as well as two garages—one with a carriage house, including bays for six cars.
The house features a wood-paneled library, second-floor living space and a master suite with two of the seven fireplaces, according to the listing.
Newfields does not pay property taxes on the estate because of its not-for-profit status.