The Indiana Historic Sites and Structures Inventory, Hendricks County Interim Report gives this building a “Notable” rating, indicating it is above average in importance and that further research or investigation may reveal that the property could be eligible for National Register listing. The survey classifies it as an example of vernacular I-house construction: a two-story structure, one room deep and at least two rooms wide with a typically symmetrical faced featuring central entry in a three or five bay configuration. With this type of house, over the years demands for additional space usually resulted in additions of ells or wings at the rear of the house as well as porches [p. xvii]
This house was built by Isaac Shidler (Shideler), an early Guilford County merchant and Justice of the Peace. It was erected between 1865 and 1871, then sold by Isaac Shidler to Asa Hunt on March 11, 1871 and transferred on March 15.
Asa was a Quaker farmer from Ohio, who had moved to Indiana in 1851. First living in Hamilton County and then Indianapolis, he moved to Plainfield in 1870. Asa Hunt died December 30, 1895 in Westfield, Hamilton County. Records show that his son Gideon had sold the house on October 18 of that year to James M. Barlow; the transfer then occurred on November 9.
James Milton Barlow was something of a Renaissance man – a Civil war veteran, traveling salesman, teacher, business owner, farmer, and “Tomato King” of Plainfield (see the September 27, 1912 Friday Caller). John V. Hadley calls him a “self-man” and the 1904 Industrial Souvenir of Hendricks County claims that “by close application to business he and his esteemable [sic] wife worked their way from the cabin to one of the finest country homes of Indiana.” Between the years 1897-1903 he served terms as state representative and state senator; he was also a Justice of the Peace.
James and his wife Sarah had eight children: William E. Barlow (b. 1872), Henry Dickerson Barlow (b. 1874), Walter Harvey Barlow (b. 1877), (Elsie) Myrtle Barlow Breedlove (b. 1880), Vigil M. Barlow (b. 1882), Albert Paul Barlow (b. 1886), Mary Sophrona Barlow McClain (b. 1890), and Harrison Porter Barlow (b. 1888, d. 1892). When James died in 1922, the house stayed in his name until 1927, when it appeared in the tax rolls under the names of Charles and Mary McClain.
Mary and Charles lived in southern Indiana for a time, where their daughter Charlene was born, probably due to Charles’ work as a state highway engineer. They spent most of their lives in Plainfield, however, and the house passed to Charlene and her husband Richard after Mary died at age 98 in 1989. Richard died in 2009 and upon Charlene’s death in 2013 the house was purchased by the present owner, passing out of the Barlow/McClain family for the first time in over 140 years.