(Sept. 2, 1796-Nov. 3, 1857). Born in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Elder was one of the contractors for the Juanita division of the Pennsylvania canal. In 1831, he submitted drawings in the competition to design the Indiana State House. Although his design was not a winner, he came to Indianapolis in 1833 to take up permanent residence, becoming the first professional architect to make his home in the Hoosier capital.

Elder designed Hervey Bates Sr.‘s Washington Street retail buildings, Charles Mayer‘s original store building, Henry Ward Beecher‘s home, the Bank of Indiana Building (1840), the first Hospital for the Insane (later Central State Hospital, 1848), and the Palmer House, one of Indianapolis’ finest hotels. He drew the original plans of the Institute for the Blind, although Francis Costigan later embellished Elder’s design (see INDIANA SCHOOL FOR THE BLIND AND VISUALLY IMPAIRED ), and was a contractor for the Central Canal.

Revised April 2021

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