Situated on 8.5 acres elevated above the White River floodplains, the estate known as “Hawkeye” was built in 1911 for automotive businessman and Indianapolis Motor Speedway co-founder Frank Wheeler. Although the designer is unknown, there is speculation that Jens Jensen may have contributed, considering his work on the neighboring Allison property. It is likely that local landscape architect A.W. Brayton was also involved, as he had been hired by Wheeler for his previous estates.
Philadelphia architect William Price designed the Arts and Crafts mansion with its green terra cotta roof and decorative glazed Mercer tile – a signature Price design accent. Originally encompassing 30 acres, the grounds included many landscape features styled to complement the main house. A colonnade, still in place today, extends 320 feet from the rear of the mansion to the location of a former garage and water tower. A square gazebo decorated with Mercer tile also remains. It once served as the launch pad for gondola rides in an artificial lagoon. Other extant features include the Japanese garden and one-room teahouse, sited on a small hill to the south of the colonnade; two wrought iron gates at the property’s entrance, which once framed a grand semicircular drive; and a herringbone brick axial path that cut through the drive to a paved plaza and broad stairway at the front of the building. In 1927 the estate was purchased by Monty Williams, who made significant changes, including the removal of the lagoon. William Stokely purchased the estate in 1937 and sold it to Marian University in 1963, at which point the Japanese gardens were replanted. The estate was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 2004.