Mid-Century Modern Talk and Tour

Indiana Modern, an affinity group of Indiana Landmarks, sponsors the eleventh annual Mid-Century Modern talk and tour, both in Indianapolis this year.

The free lecture on May 31 features Susan Skarsgard, design manager of the GM Design Archive & Special Collections. Her talk, “Then & Now: Designing Women at General Motors,” offers an insider’s view of the trailblazers who have played roles in automotive and industrial design at GM from the 1940s through the present.

Employed at General Motors Design since 1994, Skarsgard also will also share reflections on the GM Technical Center, the National Historic Landmark campus in Warren, Michigan, designed by Eero Saarinen in 1956.

Skarsgard’s illustrated talk takes place at 6 p.m. on May 31 at Indiana Landmarks Center, 1201 Central Avenue. Indiana Landmarks will present its annual central Indiana preservation awards immediately prior to her talk. The program is free with a reservation made online at or by calling Indiana Landmarks, 317-639-4534.

For a deeper immersion in the era, Back to The Future: A Mid-Century Modern Home Tour on June 2 will take visitors inside five private residences, including houses by designer Avriel Shull and architects Evans Woollen III and Harry Cooler. As a vintage design bonus, each house will display a mid-century car in the driveway. The tour homes—all on the city’s northeast side—date from 1956 to 1968.

Homes on the tour include:
6115 Green Leaves Circle – Home of Scott Tod
The late Evans Woollen III (1927-2016), one of Indiana’s most revered Modernist architects, designed the sleek 1961 house. The main wing, a modified glass box, overhangs the foundation and appears to levitate. Tod’s furniture includes pieces by Isamu Noguchi, Warren Platner, George Nelson and local artist Quincy Owens.

5242 Nob Lane – Home of Fred Mills and Matthew McElfresh
Avriel Shull (1931-1976), a pioneering mid-century designer from Indianapolis, designed all the double houses and larger multi-unit structures in the Ladywood subdivision. The 1967 split level townhouse displays many of her trademarks, including a vaulted living room ceiling and a massive stone fireplace, complemented by a collection of Mid-Century Modern furniture and artwork.

6478 North Olney Street – Home of Todd Eads
Hoosier architect Harry Cooler (1925-2016) designed the one-story house as the centerpiece of the 1961 Indianapolis Home Show at the Indiana State Fairgrounds. It was reconstructed at its current site later in 1961. The home features pecky cypress wall cladding, yellow pine vaulted ceilings, and stone floors and walls. Owner Todd Eads collects period furnishings, including pieces by T.H. Robsjohn-Gibbings and Broyhill’s Brasilia line.

7750 Camelback Drive – Home of Jonathan and Stephanie Eriksen
The 1968 split-level house in the Ivy Hills subdivision has a “Brady Bunch” vibe. Unique features include a spiral staircase supported by metal rods suspended from the family room ceiling, an indoor Tiki bar covered by a shake-shingle canopy, and a floor-to-ceiling stone fountain in the foyer. The architecture creates a perfect backdrop for the couple’s collection of modern art and furniture.

4148 Vera Drive – Home of Cory Robinson and Laura Walters
Lafayette-based National Homes Corporation, a manufacturer of prefab houses, produced this 1956 ranch in its Ranger series. Natural light floods the open-concept living area. Walters, owner of Style Riot and Robinson, a furniture designer and professor at IU’s Herron School of Art & Design, filled the house with an artful mix of vintage furnishings and modern art.

The tour takes place from 1 to 6 p.m. Tickets are $20 in advance, available now online at After May 7, tickets will be available from Indiana Landmarks at 1201 Central Avenue, Form + Function in Nora, and Silver in the City on Mass Ave and in Carmel. Tickets on the day of the tour are $25, available only at tour headquarters—Indianapolis First Friends Meetinghouse, 3030 Kessler Boulevard, East Drive.

Indiana Modern uses Back to the Future tour proceeds to encourage preservation of mid-20th century structures through nominations to National Register of Historic Places, restoration feasibility studies, and educational programs. For more information, call Indiana Landmarks, 317-639-4534 or visit

WHAT: Indiana Modern Talk by GM’s Susan Skarsgard
WHEN: May 31, 6 p.m.
WHERE: Indiana Landmarks Center, 1201 Central Avenue
COST: Talk is free with a reservation, online at or by calling Indiana Landmarks, 317-639-4534

WHAT: Back to The Future: A Mid-Century Modern Home Tour
WHEN: June 2, 1- 6 p.m.
WHERE: Five private homes on northeast side of Indianapolis (located in an area roughly bounded by 52nd and 77th streets, Keystone and Emerson avenues)
COST: $20 per person in advance (discounts for members of Indiana Landmarks and Indiana Modern) available online at or at Indiana Landmarks Center, 1201 Central Avenue; Form + Function at 1300 East 86th Street in Nora Plaza; Silver in the City, 434 Massachusetts Avenue in Indianapolis and 111 West Main Street in Carmel. On June 2, tickets are $25 per person, available only at tour headquarters—Indianapolis First Friends Meetinghouse, 3030 Kessler Boulevard, East Drive.

WHO: Both events are presented by Indiana Modern, an affinity group of Indiana Landmarks. The Indiana Modern talk is supported by a grant from the Cornelius O’Brien Lecture Series Concerning Historic Preservation and RATIO. The tour is staged with support from Joe Shoemaker/Encore Sotheby’s International Realty and Chilluffo Media.


Media contacts:
Tina Connor, Executive Vice President, 317-639-4534,;
Mark Dollase, Vice President for Preservation Services, 371-639-4534,;
Jen Thomas,, 317-441-2487


Indiana Landmarks, a private nonprofit organization, has worked for half a century saving historic places and using preservation as a catalyst to revitalize communities. What started as a small, all-volunteer group has grown to the largest statewide preservation group in the U.S., with 6,200 members and a staff of 36 in nine offices around Indiana. For more information on Indiana Landmarks, call 317-639-4534, 800-450-4534, or visit

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