The August K. Sommer House

Passersby of the Pearl Pathways headquarters in Indianapolis, Indiana may passively glance at the original brickwork or appreciate the structure’s antique charm. A passion project from a pair of Pearl Pathways team members uncovered the historic building’s captivating yet dark past that we proudly share. The August K. Sommer House is located south of Downtown Indianapolis in what was once one of the city’s largest German communities. Little remains of the large German area, through which a complex of expressways has been cut.

August Sommer (1837-1916, born in Buckberg, Schaumberg Lippe, Germany), himself one of many German immigrants who settled in Indianapolis, came to the city before the Civil War. Sommer worked as a drayman (a person who delivers beer for a brewery) and eventually rose to prominence in the German community. He was one of the founders of the German Protestant Orphan Asylum, established in 1867, and later served as a member of the board of directors and as a trustee of the institution.

In 1880, Sommer had this house built, a statement of his success. Sommer occupied the home until his death in 1916. All but one of his children lived in this house until their father’s death; at that time, the house passed into the hands of his daughter, Emma. The home did not pass out of family ownership until her death in 1957 (more on her unfortunate demise shortly). The family is interred in Crown Hill Cemetery.

A historical press release detailing the death of Mrs. Emma (Sommer) Schilling in her own home:

“William B. Kingery of Indianapolis, was under indictment today in the first-degree murder of an 84-year-old wealthy South Side widowed recluse. Mrs. Emma Schilling was bludgeoned to death in her home last Dec. 3 and her purse was missing. But, police said $10,000 in cash was found hidden in the woman’s home apparently overlooked by the burglar. Kinger was picked up a few days later when what police believe was the murder weapon was found in his truck. He has maintained he lent the truck to two unidentified men.”

The August Sommer House is significant for the builder’s social and humanitarian activities as well as its architecture. The house is a two-story, three bay, Italiante style brick dwelling with a read addition. It sits on an ashlar limestone foundation and has segmental arched windows and a low hipped roof. The August Sommer house features a full-width front porch with cut-work detail and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980.

Pearl Pathways moved into the first floor of the building during Q2 of 2013. Our growing company expanded into, and updated, the second floor in Q4 of 2016. We look forward to the continued growth of our company in this location for many years to come.