Cary House
709 North 6th St.
709 6th


   Built in 1890 in the neo-Jacobean style, this house features an irregularly jutting roof, numerous chimneys, charming gables and bulging dormers. The home was built by the wealthy fur trapper and industrial land developer, Abraham Levering, who built other homes on Sixth Street near Union for each of his children as they married. His daughter, Jessie F. Cary, occupied this house with her husband Frank M. Cary from 1893 throught the Depression until 1936. Frank Cary was President of Barbee Wire and Iron Works. When the couple's young son died, Cary Quadrangle 'a Purdue residence hall', Cary Home 'an orphanage', and Cary Camp 'a Boy Scout camp' were established by the family in his honor.

   For the next 35 years the house was used as a boarding home and fell into neglect. Then in 1971, it entered the hands of the Henry Courtenay family from Northern Ireland. The Courtenays began to uncover its historic significance. Renovating with an eye toward authenticity, they refinished oak doors and the woodwork which frames the 11-foot high ceilings. They wallpapered and began to gather bric-a-brac from the Victorian era and before. Gas chandeliers, beveled glass and three tiled fireplaces were readied for use.

   While excavating in the back yard, the Courtenay's unearthed an unusual blackened silver medal. After cleaning it, they discovered it was hand lettered in German. It has been suggested that it might be from the time that Romans occupied Germany. Since a German aristocratic family once lived around the corner, it is speculated that the medal might have been an heirloom which was lost in the backyard.

   Evidence of steam and coal heating can be found as well as oil, gas, and electricity. A regal elevator may still be operable as well. Manufactured by one of the first companies to handle this inovation, the Curtis Co. of Chicago, it holds one of the very first serial numbers stamped by this company.

   The home recently served as the offices of Purdue Reality. A few years ago the home was wrapped in aluminum siding that hides many of the architectural details of the exterior. The front yard has an original Lafayette street light post, the glass globe and light bulb have been missing for many years.

   Before 1897, the address was 110 N 6th.

Legal Description of the Property
Key Lot Owner
156-05300-0301 90 X 148 FT N 6TH ST PT NE SE SEC 20 TWP 23 R4 MCMURRAY PAUL H BARBARA A