Architect Diedrich August Bohlen

Architect Diedrich August Bohlen
(17 Jan 1827 – 1 Jun 1890)

This 1865 Second Empire style house was designed by D. A. Bohlen. Indiana Landmarks now uses the building as a rental facility. Photo courtesy: Indiana Landmarks

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 various partners. It went through many different name iterations, however, the Bohlen legacy ended in 1991 when the Schneider Engineering Corporation purchased the firm.

Diedrich Bohlen left quite a mark on Indianapolis, and some of his buildings are still standing: the city’s first theater named 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).

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 Community 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)