The Drawings + Documents Archive is pleased to announce a new collection available for research, the S. E. Arvin & Sons Records. This collection of business records, photographs, plat maps, and architectural drawings dating from 1940 to 1953 is unique among our collections because it documents the business of building a subdivision of prefabricated houses in Indianapolis during the residential housing boom following World War II.
Sherrill E. Arvin had worked independently as a home builder and, after returning home from service in the Navy during WWII, changed the name of the company to S. E. Arvin & Sons to reflect the involvement of his sons, Sherrill T, James, and Donald. Sherrill's wife, Isabell Arvin, also worked for the business as the secretary and treasurer and likely was the one responsible for keeping the detailed records. The papers were recently discovered in the attic of a home in Indianapolis and generously donated to the archives.
Sherrill Arvin had built homes for architects connected with the Indianapolis Home Show, most notably he built architect Leslie Ayres' "Manor House" for the 1941 Indianapolis Home Show, which has been discussed previously on this blog. The photographs shown of residences on Eaton Avenue and Kingsley Drive also show some of his work in 1940.
The main focus of the collection is the Arlington Woods subdivision in Indianapolis, with an emphasis on Bolton and Campbell Avenues from 30th to 33rd Streets. Individual house files date from 1948-1951 and document the process of funding, building, inspecting, and selling the homes. In the collection are blueprints for houses by the Strathmoor Company of Detroit, Michigan, and billing records for houses by the Thyer Manufacturing Corporation of Toledo, Ohio.
Images: Eaton Avenue (Washington Place), Indianapolis, Ind., 1940 and 5708 Kingsley Drive, Indianapolis, Ind., 1940. S. E. Arvin & Sons Records, Drawings + Documents Archive, Ball State University.