Cauli Le Chat

Cauli Le Chat
Cauli Le Chat, MPL Roving Reporter

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Following Paul Hadley's Footsteps, Part Neuf

Another Paul Hadley painting on display at my Library is "Room at Roselon," donated to MPL by Helen and Claire Cook.

Click photos to bigify

According to Becky Hardin (1908-1995), long-time Morgan County Historian:

  • "This painting of the living room at Roselon [was] owned by Mr. and Mrs. Claire Cook.  She [Helen Cook] thinks it is one of the best he [Paul Hadley] ever did.  The deep dark wood of the recessed window, and the melodeon have unusual depth.  The ladder back chair and portrait of Lincoln are an interesting bit of Americana, and the rug was typical of pioneer days."
[Excerpted from Hardin, Becky, The Indiana State Flag: Its Designer (Biography of Paul Hadley with Anthology of his Paintings), p. 22 (1976).  Click here to find links to read a digital copy of this fine biography.]

Helen Cook was herself an artist--many of her paintings are on display at the Library, as you can see from two videos (see postscript to this blog post)--and she taught art in the Mooresville elementary schools for many years.

Roselon sounds like one of those huge estates where rich people live.  Well, the folks who lived there were well-to-do.  If you've lived around my hometown for as long as I have, you'd know about the Wheeler family.  We found this newspaper article from The Indianapolis Sunday Star, December 6, 1931, on the Internet (click images to bigify):

Check out the right side of that picture (above) and compare it to Hadley's painting.  Same room!

Here's the rest of the article, which we divided into three images so you could see the print (read the left column all the way down, then return to the top for the right column):

Exterior of Roselon (round inset photo)

Roselon was the country home of Alonzo L. Wheeler (1853-1939) and Rose Swain Wheeler (1869-1955).  Clearly, Roselon was named after Mrs. Wheeler.  A. L. Wheeler, as he was invariably known, owned Banner Mills on East High Street in Mooresville.

Banner Mills (built in 1868) (photo circa 1870's)

 Banner Mills (remodeled) (photo circa 1890's)

Advertisement for Banner Mills
(Mooresville Times, January 28, 1910)

The house that became Roselon was constructed in 1829-1830 by James Lindley and a mason, Samuel Harriman (or Harrison).  The Wheelers bought the property in 1900. The land was originally purchased by Elias Hadley, who received the federal land patent on March 10, 1827.  Hadley sold the land two years later (1829) to Lindley, who fired the brick for the house from a nearby clay pit.

 Elias Hadley land patent (3/10/1827)
Section 34 of Township 14 North, Range 1 East
(2nd PM Meridian), Morgan County, Indiana

[Maps from Boyd, Gregory A.  Family Maps of Morgan County, Indiana
(deluxe ed., 2010).  Norman, OK: Arphax Publishing Co.]

Where's that on a modern map?  Minions, make it so.

Modern maps courtesy of the Morgan County
Economic Development Corporation

Time for my minions, "Flat" Cauli, and moi to make another road trip to see what the place looks like today.

Unfortunately, we were unable to find anywhere to safely pull off Keller Hill Road at the exact spot where Elias Hadley's/James Lindley's/the Wheeler's land was situated.  The closest we could come was Jessup Way, about a quarter mile east of the property.  Still, as the 1931 Indianapolis Sunday Star article stated, "Since no public road leads to it [Roselon], there is peace and quiet for the many nature lovers who visit it as guests of the family and there are many birds, which make it their home place."  Not wanting to trespass across anyone's land, we stayed in the car and sent Scowl-Face to take photos of the nearby hills, which resemble those crossing what was once the Roselon estate.

Wooded hills north of Keller Hill Road
across from Jessup Way

Yep.  Pretty much.

Paul Hadley was a good friend of the Wheelers, particularly Clifton Wheeler (1883-1953), Alonzo & Rose's son, with whom Hadley worked at the Herron Art Institute in Indianapolis during the 1920's and early 1930's. Hadley considered Clifton Wheeler to be the best artist in Indiana.  Several of Wheeler's paintings are displayed at the Library, as our videos (in the postscript, at the bottom of this blog post) show.

The Wheeler family also owed a "town home" on the southwest corner of the intersection of South Indiana and High Streets near downtown Mooresville, which was a few blocks from Banner Mills.

A. L. Wheeler house at 7 West High Street in Mooresville
(constructed circa 1895; renovated circa 1915)
(2009 photo)

Clifton Wheeler painted landscapes to decorate some of the walls of the family's High Street home.  These may still be seen there today.

Let's reprise Hadley's Roselon painting, so you don't have to scroll up so far.

Roselon was a beautiful home, and Paul Hadley wonderfully captured the living room's essence, warmth, and charm.

Your Roving Reporter On The Go,

Cauli Le Chat

P.S.  The two promo trailers (above) show various paintings on display at MPL, including those of Clifton Wheeler, Paul Hadley, and Helen Cook.

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