Still standing: A look back at the designing force behind many Indianapolis landmarks

Posted at 6:50 AM, Mar 15, 2018

INDIANAPOLIS -- They are landmarks we pass daily; the Murat temple, City Market, Saints Peter and Paul Cathedral and St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church. But did you know they all have one thing in common? The name Bohlen. 

Diedrich Bohlen founded the architectural practice, D.A. Bohlen, in Indianapolis in 1853. He's credited with designing several Indiana landmarks including St. John's on W. Georgia St., and the Crown Hill Cemetery chapel. 

Three generations of Bohlens would follow in Diedrich Bohlen's footsteps including his son Oscar, grandson August and great-grandson Robert Bohlen. 

As the firm grew, it underwent several name changes throughout the years. 

When Oscar Bohlen joined his father's firm in 1884, he changed the practice's name to D.A. Bohlen and Son. The firm later merged with architect David Burns to form Bohlen and Burns Architects in the early '60s. A decade later, the group underwent another name change when architects Melvin Meyer and John Gibson renamed the firm Bohlen, Meyer, Gibson and Associates. The last name change came in 1990 when Bohlen, Meyer, Gibson and Associates was purchased by the Schneider Corporation. 

While the Bohlen family name is no longer used, many of the firm's buildings still stand today including Indianapolis' first skyscraper. 

The Majestic Building at 47 S. Pennsylvania St., was built to serve as the headquarters of the Indianapolis Gas Company. Oscar Bohlen's plans called for the use of a steel skeletal frame. When construction was completed in 1896, the building stood 10 stories, making it the city's first skyscraper. The total cost of the project was $350,000. 

Former Channel 6 anchor Howard Caldwell filed this story on March 14, 1983.



Notable buildings designed by Bohlen architects:  

  • Morris-Butler House, Indianapolis 
  • Saint John the Evangelist Catholic Church, Indianapolis  
  • Roberts Park Methodist Church, Indianapolis 
  • Crown Hill Cemetery Chapel, Indianapolis 
  • Indianapolis City Market, Indianapolis  
  • Majestic Building, Indianapolis 
  • Methodist Hospital, Indianapolis 
  • Murat Temple, Indianapolis 
  • Saints Peter and Paul Cathedral, Indianapolis  

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