Acquisition of property
In June 1946, The Children’s Museum bought an elegant limestone house at the corner of N. Meridian and 30th streets, spending $63,500. For the first time in its 21-year history the museum owned the structure housing it. And in the years since, the museum has remained on the site at 3000 N. Meridian Street and significantly expanded its footprint.
The house was the former residence of St. Clair Parry, president of a local buggy and auto body manufacturing firm, and his wife Margaret. Built in 1913, the 13-room house had a beautiful ceiling mural in the living room, a lovely sunroom to one side, and a wide porch wrapping its front half. St. Clair Parry died in 1931; Margaret lived in the home until she died in 1945.
Fundraising drive and expansion
In association with the building purchase, the museum mounted a fundraising campaign to help pay off its five-year, $35,000 mortgage (the remaining $28,500 had come from its building fund), as well as $25,000 in moving and remodeling costs. The result was an outpouring of generosity from museum members and board trustees, area businesses, and local residents—so much so that by spring 1948 the museum had paid for everything and had money in the bank.
The remodeling costs were primarily the result of converting the 13 rooms of Parry house into 16 galleries. With less space than in the 35-room Carey house, the museum’s director Grace Golden and her staff had to use every square inch, including closets, which, with the installation of glass doors, became display cabinets.
During the ensuing years the museum spread out, creating several additions to house new galleries. The first came just three years after moving to the Parry house—a new wing called the prehistory gallery and the conversion of the Parry carriage house into a natural science gallery. But as the museum grew in popularity, its board began looking for other ways to expand. The logical direction was west, behind the Parry property, where a former commercial garage/apartment structure known as the Dreyer building stood.