A Brief Synopsis
Brendonwood, is one of the best kept secrets in Indianapolis. But those who know the area hold it in high regard, and recognize its highly coveted status. Originally planned by Charles Lewis. Brendonwood Common, Inc. was established in 1917 and encompasses 350 acres with approx 113 homes built anywhere from 1895 to 2010. Home sites measure from 1 to 12 acres. Brendonwood The neighborhood was erected as part of the City Beautiful movement which is why much thought and care was used in planning the community.
It's an amazing area due to the hills, dense trees, and babbling water encountered in the neighborhood. The Mall Common Area at the entrance is adorned down the middle with towering trees. Brendonwood also has its own 9 hole golf course and country club equipped with a pool, tennis and basketball courts, and a playground. The country club holds numerous events throughout the year that appeal to all ages. Some of the events include a celebration of the annual opening of the golf course, camp outs, holiday celebrations, and parties, among other events.
A Brief History of Brendonwood Common
Brendonwood Common is the dream come true of Charles S. Lewis. As early as 1909, Mr Lewis was dreaming about a neighborhood in the Fall Creek Valley where he owned some land. Others contributed to the realization of that dream. Two of them were Mr. George E. Kessler and Mr. A.H. Moore. Together with Charles Lewis they developed the 350 acres that we know as Brendonwood Common.
Mr. Lewis wanted to develop a country home residential park-type atmosphere. This would call for unusual treatment that would open up the land's natural beauties and add beauty to the spots that nature had left for wheat and corn fields. Mr. Moore, a civil engineeer, was engaged to draw up a topographical map. After this was put together, Mr. Lewis and Mr. Kessler, a landscape architect and city and park planner, spent many hours going over this map and superimposing road and lot lines until they had it as perfect as it could be. Many factors had to be considered - grades, drainage, cost of construction and the relation of the roads to adjoining land. Five miles of road were plotted - the Mall and Lawrence Drive as spacious ways; Old Orchard as a route winding through old orchards; Brookwood, Hunterglen, Highfall and Around the Hills as ravine roads. These roads through hills and glens follow the contours of the land and are very beautiful. One-half the plots including all the hill plots, were naturally heavily wooded. On the formerly bare plots many thousands of trees were planted, literally reforesting these plots. All roads were originally bordered by rows of elms, and the Mall had "seven rows of goodly elms." Almost all of these elms died when the dutch elm disease ravaged the elms in this country.
Mr. Lewis admired the English hedgerows and had such an idea in mind for Brendonwood. He wanted to use shrubbery that was indigenous to the area. Much basberry and spirea was used. Hundreds of thousands were needed for such an undertaking. A Brendonwood nursery was begun where parts of Brendonshire now stand. Mr. George U. Davis, who served as superintendent from Brendonwood's earliest days, took on the physical task of planting and caring for these trees and shrubs.
Mr. Lewis took a great deal of care in selecting not only the name Brendonwood, which means hills and woods, but also the names of the streets. He could not imagune giving numbers to the homesites that he developed, so he gave names to each of the 100 homesites. Literally hundreds of names were collected so that a hill-site became Highdown Hill, Wind-Sweep, or Farlook. The name Overbrook seemed to belong to one plot, Long Ridge to another, and Greenslopes well pictured still another.
The "Garden Plots" with their trees and shrubs that were to give them great charm were called by such names as Gracefield, Greenswrath, Hawthornden or October Garden. It was not Mr. Lewis' thought that these plot names should be legal names. He hoped that many would like the names he selected for their plots, and many have.
Mr. Lewis was creating for the future and he felt that, adequately protected, Brendonwood would grow ever more beautiful. This was the birth of the By-Laws and Covenants of Brendonwood Common. He wanted Brendonwood to be a legal community, but he did not want to incorporate as a village or town under state laws. He wished to keep the roads as private roads. He took up the problem with Edward Daniels, and Indianapolis attorney. Mr. Daniels liked the idea of an association of owners and suggested the name "Brendonwood Common". Thus it was that Brendonwood Common, a nonprofit association was established. To Brendonwood Common Mr. Lewis transferred by deed every square foot of land in Brendonwood that was not within the boundary lines of the 110 plots. This land is owned in common by all plot owners.
By 1920 a drainage sewer system had been installed and light and telephone wires and a golf course were in the various stages of installation. All plots had individual water systems. Some of the first homes were built in Brendonwood during 1920 with the exception of "The Scarlet Maples" which was originally a farmhouse and was built in 1895.
A Board of Directors was established, and Mr. Lewis served as its president until his death in January, 1931. From that time until his death in August, 1940, Walter C. Marmon served as the president. During this time, the golf course and the Common House were built. During World War II the golf course was turned into a victory garden. After the war it became a field of weeds until the 1950's when a group of residents founded the Brendonwood Recreation Club which is now known as the Brendonwood Country Club. It boasts a competitive nine hole golf course, swimming pool, and tennis court for the enjoyment of its members.
There have been many changes since the inception of Brendonwood Common. Brendonwood no longer is in the "country" but it is in the middle of a large metropolitan area. Still the country feeling persists. Brendonwood today is a community of over 100 families. It has a great community spirit and involvement. Mr. Mike Copeland, grounds superintendent, oversees the care and maintenance of all common areas and the golf course. The Brendonwood Board is responsible for the planning and operational conduct of community business and activities. Three new members are elected annually for three year terms. There are also many other "unsung heroes" who donate there time and efforts in the community.
Brendonwood has been a community of "firsts"; it has been used as a model for other developments of its type all over the country. On October 21, 2004 Brendonwood was entered in the Indiana Register of Historic Sites and Structures. Brendonwood was registered in the National Register of Historic Places on December 6, 2004 by the United States Department of the Interior in cooperation with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources Division of Historic Preservation and Archeology. This is a unique community, and it can be truly said that Brendonwood has never been more beautiful.