Architect Diedrich August Bohlen (January 17, 1827 – June 1, 1890)

Designed Crown Hill’s Gothic Chapel (1875)

D. A. Bohlen was born in Cadenberge in the Kingdom of Hanover (now part of Germany). After formal architectural studies, he embarked on a long walk through Germany and Poland, making sketches and studying methods of construction. He continued his travels all the way to America, arriving in Cincinnati in 1851 before moving to Indianapolis in 1852.

He worked for a year with pioneer architect Francis Costigan (who is also buried at Crown Hill) and then established his own practice in 1853, working for many years out of offices at 23 East Washington Street and living in Lockerbie Square. His firm was carried on by his son, Oscar; grandson, August; and great-grandson, Robert; and their partners almost to the end of the 20th Century.

Diedrich Bohlen left quite a mark on Indianapolis. In 1875, he was hired by Crown Hill’s Board of Corporators to design a building which could be used both for services and body storage, and he answered the call with the Gothic Chapel in the Gothic Revival style. Built of quarry-faced limestone, it follows an approximate 65’ x 50’ cruciform plan with a two story central chapel with crypts formerly in the two one story transepts.

Among his other buildings, some of which are still standing, are the city’s first theater, The Metropolitan (1858), the Morris-Butler House (1862), St. John Catholic Church (1871), Roberts Park Methodist Church (1876), Pleasant Run Children’s Home (1872), St. Paul’s Lutheran Church (1883), and Lockerbie Square United Methodist Church (1883).

When his son, Oscar D. Bohlen, joined his firm in 1884, its name changed to D.A. Bohlen & Son. This firm’s projects have included all the original buildings at St. Mary of the Woods College, the Oldenburg Academy, City Market and Tomlinson Hall (1886), the Majestic Building (1896), the Crown Hill Mausoleum (1948), Emmerich Manual High School (1951) and the Eli Lilly Company headquarters (1957).

Burial Location: Section 25, Lot 177; GPS (39.8184767,-86.1704684)