Heritage House Suites | 209 S. Sixth Street Indiana, PA 15701 | 724-463-3430

History of Heritage House

1870-2010


 
Make reservation buttonWelcome to Heritage House Suites, formerly known as the J.P. Carter House and the Thomas Sutton House. Situated in the Historic District of Indiana, on the corner of Sixth and School Streets, between the Indiana Historical Society, also known as the “Silas M. Clark House” and “The Bennett House”.   Heritage House is a wonderful example of Second Empire architecture, with French Mansard roofing and features of the Italianate style. It once housed a 3 story observatory tower that had to be removed due to disrepair in the 1970’s.

The home was built by James P. Carter in 1870 as a single family dwelling at a cost of $30,000, on 3 and a half acres of what was considered “the most desirable location in Indiana”. Carter deliberately built a larger house than his neighbor Silas M. Clark because Clark secured the service of the architect whom Carter had wanted. Silas Clark went on to be elected to the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania on November 7, 1882. Carter then hired builder and architect J.P. Leach who built Thomas Sutton’s brother John Sutton’s home further up Sixth Street, and possibly also his Uncle James Sutton’s home now known as IUP’s Breezedale.
 

Thomas Sutton HouseJames P. Carter
June 17, 1822 – August 5, 1874

The first record of deed to the home and property is recorded to James P. Carter. All records before that time evidently filed in Westmoreland County, so I have no history of the property before that time. The deed describes a “certain lot or piece of land situated in said Borough of Indiana, adjoining Sixth Street on the west, an alley on the north (School Street?), land of Rev. David Blair on the east and an alley on the south, (perhaps Locust Street), containing three acres, more or less, with a two-story brick dwelling house, a frame stable and other outbuildings thereon erected”. This deed transfer was dated the Sixth of May, 1874. There is almost no information readily available concerning Mr. Carter, except that he was married to Nancy Ralston and was involved in banking. The deed transfer assigns “all of his properties – goods, chattels and effects and properties real and otherwise” over to Andrew Wilson to be disposed of to settle his obligations to his creditors. (Whereas the said James P. Carter, owing to sundry losses and misfortunes, is at present unable to discharge his just debts”). The home and property was sold on November 12, 1879 to Thomas Sutton for consideration of $1,500. There is also a deed transfer signed by his widow, Nancy Carter, releasing all claim to the property. Mrs. Carter and her four sons moved to Allegheny where she died in February, 1899, at age 69. News stories tell of the deaths of her son, Elder, at age 32 of consumptive illness, and of the death of Arthur in a train accident at age 39. Son John’s death was reported in Pittsburgh in 1925. I have found no information on the remaining son, David. Mrs. Nancy Carter was the daughter of David Ralston who was an important area businessman and built the Indiana House.
 
 

News Articles


Indiana Progress: 8/4/1870 - The large & costly residence of Mr. James P Carter, on South Clymer Street, is almost finished, and will be ready for occupancy some time the coming winter.  This building is of the modern style, two stories high, with a French roof and towering observatory, and when completed will be one of the finest private residences in the Western part of the state.

Indiana Progress: 12/5/1872
- Silas M Clark & James P Carter have improved their handsome residences on Clymer Street by having pavements laid around them.  South Clymer Street would be the handsomest street in Indiana, was it not for that ungainly building, the Indiana horse stables.  It is a shame that so a beautiful street should be this marred.
 
J.P Carter HomeAs reported by the Indiana Messenger: 1874 - “The building was finished without regard to cost, and nothing left out that would add to comfort or convenience.  The cellar is nine feet high in the clear and divided into five compartments.  The first floor consists of five rooms, parlor, library, bed chamber, large dining room, with kitchen, and wash house attached, one and a half stories high, with large cellar under the whole of it.  Elegant range in the kitchen, and bake-oven in the wash house.  The main hall is wide and spacious, the side hall on the north side is also wide, and in it is the main stair way.  There is also a hall entering from the south side; also store room and china closet adjoining the kitchen and dining room.  There is also bath room and water closets.  Nearly the whole of the first floor is finished in walnut, the entire stairway, railing and steps are walnut.  The second floor is component of five large bed chambers, bath rooms and water closet, hot and cold water, gas and every other convenience.  The third story constructed with a mansard roof, forms five bed chambers on which also the water tank is located.  The grounds surrounding the house three acres and one half, well improved, the fence enclosing the house on three sides is of iron pickets, the residue is of pine palings lately constructed.  The grounds are admirably located with flower and vegetable garden and planted in all kinds of fruit, apples, peaches, pears, cherries, plums and other small fruits-in good cultivation.  The mantles in the house are all of the finest marble, with marble stationary wash stands, hot and cold water in every room.” In 1875 the Indiana Messenger described the home as “the most valuable home in Indiana County”. Unfortunately Carter and his family only lived in the house for a short while. He fell on hard times financially and with his health declining the house had to be put up for sale.   

Indiana Messenger: 4/29/1874 - FM Kinter has been appointed Jury Commissioner by Judge Logan in place of JP Carter who resigns on account of failing health.

Heritage House SuitesIndiana Messenger: 6/24/1874 - There will be offered at private sale, situated in the borough of Indiana, a fine residence, owned and occupied by James P Carter.  It is situated on South 6th Street.  The building was finished without regard to cost, and nothing left out that would add to comfort or convenience.  The cellar is nine feet high in the clear and divided into five compartments.  The first floor consists of five rooms, parlor, library, bed chamber, large dining room, with kitchen, and wash house attached, one and a half stories high, with large cellar under the whole of it.  Elegant range in the kitchen, and bake-oven in the wash house.  The main hall is wide and spacious, the side hall on the north side is also wide, and in it is the main stair way.  There is also a hall entering from the south side; also store room and china closet adjoining the kitchen and dining room.  There is also bath room and water closets.  Nearly the whole of the first floor is finished in walnut, the entire stairway, railing and steps are walnut.  The second floor is component of five large bed chambers, bath rooms and water closet, hot and cold water, gas and every other convenience.  The third story constructed with a mansard roof, forms five bed chambers on which also the water tank is located.  The grounds surrounding the house three acres and one half, well improved, the fence enclosing the house on three sides is of iron pickets, the residue is of pine palings lately constructed.  The grounds are admirably located with flower and vegetable garden and planted in all kinds of fruit, apples, peaches, pears, cherries, plums and other small fruits-in good cultivation.  The mantles in the house are all of the finest marble, with marble stationary wash stands, hot and cold water in every room.  A.W. Wilson, Assignee for James P Carter.

Indiana Democrat: 8/13/1874 - James P Carter of Indiana Borough died on Wednesday evening last August 5, 1874 at twenty minutes to 11 o'clock after a long and painful illness of consumption.  The deceased was for many years one of our most energetic, reliable and industrious business men and had spent the prime of his life in our midst.  There were few men in the community better known to the business men of the county than Mr Carter and none regarded and esteemed as more reliable and trustworthy.  In his large and extensive business connections with the people he had won a name for upright, honorable conduct and fairness in dealing that will be a bright legacy to leave to his children.  Failing health induced Mr Carter, a couple of years ago, to withdraw from active business lives but he still took a deep interest in the prosperity of the town.  For many years he served the people of Indiana as a school director, and faithfully discharged the duties of the office, being a fast friend of educational enterprises.  He was selected one of the Jury Commissioners of the county at the election in the fall of 1873 but his health was so delicate that he was compelled to resign in a few months.  In the sacred relations of husband and father, it is not our province to speak at length, but he was kind, considerate and affectionate and it was his pride to adorn and beautify his home, and render happy all about him.  He was a good neighbor, a faithful, fine, kind, human and charitable-his hand being open to relieve the necessities of the poor and destitute at all time. James Parks Carter was born at Carter's Store, Nicholas County, Kentucky on the 17th of June 1822 and was married to Nancy, second daughter of the late David Ralston, on the 26th of September 1850 by the Rev. David Blair.  He resided in Kentucky from the date of his marriage until the summer of 1852 when he removed to Bell's Mill, Indiana County, Pa where he lived until the spring of 1854, when he moved to Indiana where he resided until his death.  His ancestors were originally from Maryland and on his mother's side he was connected with the Parks family of Kittanning, Pa.  In his death the community has lost one of its best and most influential citizens.  He had united with the Presbyterian Church and died in the blessed hope of immortality.
 
 
Indiana Democrat:   8/26/1875 - Mr A W Wilson, the assignee of James P Carter, deceased, offered for sale on Friday last the large and elegant residence on South Clymer Street and the one undivided half of the farm adjoining town.  The residence and grounds was bid to $16,250 and the farm to $9,100.  The sale was then adjourned until Friday next at 2 o'clock pm.
 
Indiana Democrat: 8/26/1875 - Sheriff’s Sale on Friday, Sept 10, 1875 at 2 o'clock:  (both the house & the farm in white twp) taken in execution at the suit of Wm. M Stewart in trust for Indiana County Deposit Bank
 
Indiana Democrat: 8/26/1875 - Assignee's Sale: The most valuable property in Indiana County will be offered for sale at the late residence of James P Carter, dec'd in the borough of Indiana on Friday, August 27, 1875 at 2 o'clock that splendid residence, late the property of James P Carter dec'd. The lot contains 3 and a half acres of ground in the most desirable location in the town.  The house is built of brick, just new, contains 12 rooms, besides basement, is fitted up in the most elegant manner with all the modern conveniences - water, gas, bay-windows, porches, closets, mansard roof, etc.  It is pronounced the finest in Western Pennsylvania, outside of Pittsburgh.  (Then a description of his farm & farming utensils that is also being offered.)

Indiana Democrat: 5/18/1876 - The valuable property, Lots of JP Carter, Dec'd will be sold a public sale to the highest bidder on Friday, The 9th of June, immediately after the Sheriff Sales at the courthouse, Indiana Pa.  The Splendid house & grounds in Indiana. One half of the farm adjoining town, one-fourth of 12 acres in White Township and twelfth of an oil tract in Venango County.  Also a lot of farming utensils.  A W Wilson, Assignee

Indiana Democrat: 6/8/1876  - The Carter Property is to be sold on Friday--without reserve.

Indiana Democrat: 6/15/1876 - The valuable property of the late James P. Carter in this place was bid to $15,000 and then adjourned to July 11th.  The undivided one-half of the farm 253 acres was bid to $8,500 and also adjourned.

Indiana Progress: 4/4/1878 - Thomas Sutton, Esq has purchased the property known as the Carter property.  Does this mean business or a speculation?

Next Page >>