(Jan. 6, 1842-Feb. 20, 1920). Businessman and amateur artist, Christian Schrader was born in Indianapolis. His German-born father worked on theand . From 1843 to 1847, the Schraders lived in a small eastside German neighborhood on Alabama Street facing Courthouse Square and then across town in a small frame house near the old from 1849 to 1880.
In a northwest room of the State House between 1853 and 1860, Schrader received his art education by watching, James Bolivar Dunlap, and Henry Waugh paint temperance panoramas. For practical reasons, he decided against an artistic career and went into the china painting and purveying business, opening a shop in 1872 on Washington Street that he ran until his retirement in 1909.
In a 60-year span, Schrader witnessed the total rebuilding of the city. When he retired, he decided to record Indianapolis as it had existed in his boyhood up to the building of the Union Depot in 1853 (See), the structure that symbolized the beginning of the boom. Schrader drew semblances of 178 residences, shops, churches, and manufactories within the .
Since few other visual records existed, Schrader relied on his memory, which thedescribed as “remarkable”. When his recollections were clear, his drawings were detailed and highly finished; when more vague, the drawings were little more than thumbnail sketches. Nevertheless, the 113 drawings and 12 paintings given by Schrader’s daughters to the a decade after the artist’s death in Madison, Indiana provide an invaluable, if unverifiable, catalog of antebellum Indianapolis.