With construction beginning soon after the purchase of land in 1821, this house combines two different types of architecture: Italianate and Second Empire. Construction completed in the 1850s, this home would give a roof to prominent members of local, state, and national politics, among them: A US Vice President and a US Congressman. The house serves as the focal point and name to the Bates-Hendricks neighborhood of Indianapolis.
The home was constructed in three phases. The first section was built in the early 1820s by Richard Keene, the lands patent holder. He had purchased the land from the federal government in July 1821 just as the Indians vacated the area. The second section was completed by Hervey Bates in 1851. The newest section was completed in 1858.
The smaller Keene section of the house is of Federal design. The larger Bates-built section is of Italianate design complete with a 60-foot (18 m) tower on the home's east exposure. The house is one of the oldest standing structures in Indianapolis and Marion County.
Bates was Marion County's first sheriff (1822) and later, president of the Indianapolis branch of the state Bank of Indiana. He and Lanier brought the state's first railroad, the Madison and Indianapolis, to Indianapolis in 1847. In 1852 Bates built the lavish Bates House Hotel in downtown Indianapolis, where Abraham Lincoln stayed while en route to his first inauguration in Washington, D.C. Thomas A. Hendricks also lived in the home; he served as U.S. Senator from Indiana, Governor of Indiana, and Vice-President of the United States.
James O. Woodruff built the Victorian neighborhood around the home in 1872, calling it Hendricks Place. He would later develop Woodruff Place on the east side of Indianapolis. General John Coburn lived in the home for thirty years. He was first into Atlanta during the Civil War and secured the city's surrender. Upon his return to Indianapolis he became a four-time U.S. Congressman and set the cornerstone for the Soldiers and Sailors Monument.
In the early twentieth century the home's tower hosted one of the first radio transmitters in Indiana. In 1971, a building survey was done for the Bates–Hendricks House. It was used as the basis of all historic building data information in the years to follow. A copy of the original survey was found in the Library of congress and reviewed against current known information. Many major errors were found in the 1971 document including the construction dates of the home. Currently, the Library of Congress Survey is being updated to reflect what is now known about the Bates–Hendricks structure.
Taylor, ed, Robert M., Jr. Indiana: A New Historical Guide. Indiana Historical Society, 1989, p. 424
"Indiana State Historic Architectural and Archaeological Research Database (SHAARD)" (Searchable database). Department of Natural Resources, Division of Historic Preservation and Archaeology. Note: This includes Lois Hagedorn (April 1975). "National Register of Historic Places Inventory Nomination Form: Bates–Hendricks House" (PDF). Accompanying photographs.