Historic Structures

Building Description Indiana Hotel, Hammond Indiana

This four-story hotel-office buiding is roughly square in shape, with a 75' four-bay diagonal at the northeast corner. The eight-bay Hohman Street facade is 150', the seven-bay State Street facade is 135', and the rear, west facade is 210' and is divided at the center by a service alley 22' wide. The north facade on Willow Court, comprising the garage, is 123' wide. The garage is approximately two stories in height.

This Renaissance-Revival Style structure, which anchors the north end of Hammond's business district, features a refined white terra cotta cornice and window detail. Although modern alterations have compromised the 1st and 2nd floors' physical integrity, all of the original exterior terra cotta remains intact.

This building is one of several architectural highlights lying on State Street. Two blocks southeast on State Street, there is the Lincoln Hotel (c.1925), the L. Fish Furniture Building (c.1927), and the Seifer Building (1925). All these buildings display elaborate terracotta detailing, the Indiana Hotel displaying the most dignified facade. In the 1920s, banks, auto showrooms, and hotels were built with solid, classic styles to lend an air of dignity to their trade.

The highlight of the exterior trim is the cornice which consists of rectangular panels of swags and garlands, marked by open-mouthed lions' heads. Acanthus leaf decorations mark the corners of the building, and medallions, dentils, and bracketed panels complete the entablature. Horizontal banding, raised terra cotta window framing, and the green glazed terra cotta trim of the first floor complete the exterior facades facing the street.

There is a south entrance facing State Street and an east entrance facing Hohman Avenue. They have both been modernized with aluminum framing and single-leaf doors. There appears to be no original detail left to the entrances. "Indiana Hotel" illuminated signs appear over each entrance, upon c.1950 metal canopies. There is a large, two-story, projecting "Hotel" sign at the building's southeast corner. The corner jewelry store features a sign which reads: "loans Luggage JEWELRY Harold's" on the State Street facade, and "Harold's Jewelry Loans" on the Hohman Street facade and is of c.1950 vintage. The storefront dividers, marking each bay, feature a decorative green-glazed terra cotta piece which includes a winged-horse and symmetrical plant motifs. Above this panel, which is the only decoration other than the raised window molding and the cornice work, the white-glazed terra cotta reaches to the top of the building's parapet.

There is a partial basement under the hotel, with single-stairway access at the east and south sides. A partial basement lies under the garage, of the same depth. The boilers, furnace, and incinerator sit at the east side of the garage basement.

The first floor consisted of stores, lobbies, restaurant, and garage. There are separated storefronts extending from the street to the center of the building, on a central hallway, A restaurant was located at the center of the hotel on the west wing, A large garage, of open plan lies at the northwest corner of the Hotel.

The second floor was shops, store room, rest rooms. The 2nd floor had shops of varying size lying on both sides of a central hallway, along the east and south wings. A storeroom, utility and maintenance closets, and central restrooms occupy the rest of the floor, in central locations adjacent to or near the elevator lobby.

The third and fourth floors had hotel guest rooms, public bathrooms: These floors repeat the hallway patterns of the second floor, with guest rooms replacing the shops. The south facade rooms feature private baths, and the remainder of the rooms have sinks only.

Indiana Hotel, Hammond Indiana Guest room #416?, looking south
Guest room #416?, looking south

It has been impossible to verify the locations of hotel rooms #416 and #417 (Stephenson-Oberholtzer incident). The small rooms documented by the above photograph depict the room thought to be #416, according to testimony from a former building superintendant. However, the rooms' hall doors have been removed, no evidence remains of the numbers within the rooms, and the architectural drawing copies extant do not indicate final room number selection.