(June 22, 1867 – Apr. 2, 1947). Hugh McKennan Landon was born in Muscatine, Iowa, to George Washington and Emily Alice (Reeves) Landon. Sometime during his youth, his family moved to Kokomo, Indiana, where he completed his early education. He moved to Boston to attend Phillips Andover Academy. He then earned an A. B. degree and graduated with Phi Beta Kappa honors from Harvard University in 1892.

Landon came to Indianapolis immediately after graduation. He married Suzette Merrill Davis and took a job with the Manufacturer’s Natural Gas Company. Here, he ascended to the firm’s presidency before taking a position at the Indianapolis Water Company (IWC) in 1902.

His father-in-law Frederick A. W. Davis headed IWC at the time of Landon’s hire. He held numerous executive positions at IWC before selling his holdings in the utility to Clarence Geist (see Geist Reservoir) in 1912, whereupon he retired.

Shortly before Landon retired, he and fellow IWC executive Linneas Boyd purchased 52 acres of land west of Michigan Road and north of Maple Street (38th Street) in 1908. Boyd developed half of the property into 22 residential lots. Landon used half to construct a 22-room home he called Oldfields, which currently sits on the property of Newfields. Together, the lots and Oldfields became known as the exclusive neighborhood called Woodstock.

Retirement did not last long for Landon. In 1920, he and Indianapolis banker Evans Woollen Sr. bought a controlling interest in Fletcher Trust & Savings Company (see American Fletcher National Bank). Woollen assumed the presidency and Landon the vice presidency of the bank. He became chairman of the board of the bank in 1943.

Landon served as chairman of the local draft board for Marion County during World War I. He also served as the Indiana state chairman of the War Camp Community Service, which organized social and recreational activities for the servicemen at training camps in the United States.

Landon displayed a broad interest in philanthropic work. In 1921, he became one of the original sponsors and president of the James Whitcomb Riley Memorial Association (see Riley Children’s Foundation). This organization promoted the construction of the James Whitcomb Riley Hospital for Children, which was completed in 1924.

He was the director of the Children’s Aid Association, which merged with three other organizations to form the Family Welfare Society in 1922 (see Families First). Working with this organization, he helped provide playgrounds and other recreational facilities to the Indianapolis area.

Landon was a cofounder and first director of the Indianapolis Community Fund (see United Way of Central Indiana) in 1928. He served two terms as its president and served on the board of directors. In 1935, the organization’s members elected him as an honorary member.

In 1932, Landon and his second wife Jessie Spaulding sold Oldfields to J. K. Lilly Jr. Landon gave the $250,000 proceeds of the sale of Oldfields to the Riley Memorial Association.

Landon led the Harvard Alumni Association in 1939. Under his aegis, the organization raised over $3.5 million to expand its facilities and services.  That same year he became a member of the Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce. Over his long career, Landon also held executive positions at Armstrong-Landon Co., State Life Insurance Co., and Davlan Corp.

In recognition of his lifelong commitment to all aspects of community life, Landon was the recipient of honorary doctorates from Wabash College (1930), Indiana University (1931), and Rose Polytechnic Institute (1941).

Revised November 2023

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