Built in 1906, “tucked away” among mature trees in the Historic Meridian Park neighborhood, the affectionately named house represents one of the earliest examples of the bungalow style in the city. Art patrons George Philip and Nellie Simmons Meier acquired the property in 1910 and remodeled the house to accommodate their active social life as well as their collections of art and period furnishings. In addition to their contributions to local arts organizations, the Meiers were also benefactors of individual writers, artists, actors, dancers, and musicians, and they sponsored visits of nationally known performers and artists to Indianapolis.

Drawing room, 1925
Credit: Indiana Historical Society

George Meier designed women’s apparel, establishing a national reputation with his original creations. He began an affiliation with L. S. Ayres & Company in 1902 and traveled to Europe annually in that capacity. Nellie Meier was a palmist of considerable fame who counted Albert Einstein and Lowell Thomas among her friends.

Celebrity guests called frequently at Tuckaway to have their characters assessed. Evening entertainments at the bungalow included such notables as Eleanor Roosevelt, George Gershwin, Sergei Rachmaninoff, Walt Disney, Helen Hayes, Joan Crawford, Mary Pickford, Alfred Lunt, and Lynn Fontanne. Indiana actress Carole Lombard called at Tuckaway the day before her untimely death in an airplane crash.

Exterior of the Tuckaway house, ca. 1915
Credit: Indiana Historical Society

Nellie Meier’s book, Lions’ Paws (1937), collected the handprints of famous personalities; these included local authors James Whitcomb Riley, George Ade, Meredith Nicholson, and Lew Wallace, who were frequent guests at the Meiers’ home.

In 1941, Meier turned the house over to her niece, Ruth Austin McGinnis Peaslee Cannon. However, the next most prominent owner came when Kenneth E. Keene Jr. purchased the house in 1972 and famously dedicated his efforts to maintaining the home’s decor and traditions until he died in 2015. The home remains a private residence. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Tuckaway house library, ca. 1925
Credit: Indiana Historical Society
Revised March 2021

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