Friends Fully Restore 125-Year Old Greenwood Home Now Named The Corner at Broadway
Photographer: Erin Feldmeyer
Two best friends drive by a house, fall in love with it and buy it. Well, that’s sort of what happened anyway.
Best friends Melissa Stephens and Anne Nolting owned Indianapolis Welding Supply in Indy’s downtown area. After the business was sold, the property was used for event parking. Then the ladies became interested in fixing up vacation homes and long-term rentals. That’s when they began revamping and remodeling homes, including vacation homes in Florida which they offer as rentals through IWS Realty.
The properties in Florida were so successful that the ladies decided to try their hand back home in Indiana. So, two years ago, when the entrepreneurs were on the hunt for a new property and project, something caught Melissa’s eye. The charming, albeit rundown, two-story, white, Victorian style home with inviting wrap-around porches sitting on the corner of Broadway and Madison just seemed to beckon.
“We drove by the house several times when it was on the market,” Melissa says. “I grew up in Richmond in old homes, and the charm has always appealed to me, so, I asked Anne what she thought about the house, but she hadn’t even noticed it.”
But as best friends who’ve known each other for 12 years do, they talked about it, consulted a realtor and bought the home.
Through the years and their many projects, the business partners had expended plenty of blood, sweat and tears and were no strangers to the many surprises that can arise during a rehab. But they’d never done a full-scale restoration, especially one of this magnitude and age, so, it’s safe to say, these ladies had no idea what they were about to get in to.
“It was in really sad shape at 125 years old, and we wanted to restore it to its former glory and preserve its historical integrity,” Melissa says.
As they dug in and began to uncover all the work that needed to be done, they uncovered something else about the home that stole a piece of their hearts forever. The home has a rich history with countless stories about the owners and their neighbors. Melissa discovered much of the house’s history through maps and newspaper clippings.
The home was built for David and Fannie McGuire Foster in 1891. They were one of the biggest horse team dealers in Greenwood. But when Mrs. Foster decided she wanted a house in town, they called upon builder Isaac Reed. When the house was complete, it became a boarding house. David passed away in 1920, at which point Fannie decided to build an addition. After the 1920 addition, it became a hotel.
“I discovered that coincidentally, Fannie added on about the same time the community center was being built right across the street,” Melissa says. “At the same time we were rehabbing the house, the community center was being redone and it became the Cornerstone, while our house became the Corner at Broadway.”
As the project progressed, Melissa continued to uncover more interesting facts about the house. After Mrs. Foster passed away at age 100, the house was sold to the Day family, and it became the Day hotel. Then when the Day’s daughter married into the Tucker family, they bought it and named it the Broadway Hotel. In the 80s, it was a baseball card shop.
“It was an amazing journey of historical discovery,” Melissa says. “I’ve always had a passion for history and now a passion for remodeling, and this was the perfect blend of both.”
During the two-year process, Melissa and Anne restored the exterior wood and painted it a historical soft blue color, sanded and refinished hardwood floors, peeled wallpaper and restored and painted plaster walls, restored fireplaces and revived the glorious wraparound porches, adding plenty of seating and a porch swing. The final result is a breathtaking 4,200 square foot home with a large gathering room and dining room, a modern, fully equipped kitchen, 7-bedrooms, two guest baths, a laundry room, an upstairs lounge area and movie room. Though the seven separate bedrooms are set up to provide for private access, the entire home can be rented through their IWS Realty service for a minimum of two days up to a maximum of 30 days.
Four of the seven bedrooms are master suites with an ensuite bathroom. Each master is tastefully decorated while still preserving as much of its original form as possible. The rooms come adorned with modern appointments like a smart TV, Xbox or blu-ray player and phone charging stations. Melissa and Anne were able to restore original clawfoot tubs for three of the master baths and the two guest baths, but they installed a walk-in shower in the first ground floor suite to accommodate guests who may need disabled access.
The other three guest rooms are equipped with bunk beds, which are great for families with kids, but they’re big enough and comfortable for adults to use too. The lounge area is wonderful for guests to gather to play cards or games. Right behind the lounge is a movie room with an enormous, comfortable couch, where you can pull up a movie on the T.V. which comes pre-loaded with a whole library of films, pull the blackout drapes shut and enjoy.
The Corner at Broadway celebrated its grand opening with a wildly successful Open House July 6-7. Local businesses brought housewarming gifts to Melissa and Anne, and guests entered drawings for prizes.
Reservations for the house opened in June and have already started coming in steadily.
“Guests can rent this entire house for company visiting for a family reunion, wedding or holiday. But it can be used for wedding or bridal showers or even a girls’ weekend. It sleeps up to 18 people,” Melissa says. “But companies rent it too for training or other company celebrations. You can bring in your own food and prepare it in the kitchen or have it catered and delivered.”
The house’s proximity to the Greenwood Park Mall and convenient access to restaurants, activities and downtown makes it a perfect location. It’s also a popular choice for guests in town for Gen Con, sports tournaments, the Indy 500, the Brickyard or other Indy events.
Melissa and Anne have already heard from many local residents who have shared their memories of the house or the area, but they’d love to hear more. So, be sure to visit their Facebook page to share your memories. The Corner at Broadway is located at One North Madison Avenue, Greenwood, Indiana. Visit thecorneratbroadway.com for more details and to make a reservation.