ANDERSON — With an eye on creating a historical experience, the Friends of Mounds State Park have been restoring the Bronnenberg House since 2005. Due to a recent generous long-term loan from Connor Prairie, the entire house (built in the 1840s) is well-appointed with period-appropriate furniture.
“A lot of the things that were on display before the loan were not period appropriate, they were just old,” said Carol Arena, publicist for the organization. “One of the houses at Connor Prairie was an 1896 home and they changed it to an 1840s house, so they didn’t need this furniture. We have them on indefinite loan.”
“Connor Prairie came through big time for us,” said Tom Parker, vice president. “We want to give them a lot of credit for this.”
Frederick Bronnenberg Sr. traveled to the United States from Germany in 1791 at the tender age of 16. After marrying Barbara, the couple settled in Madison County around 1820 and had a total of 13 children.
Their son, Frederick Jr., built the Federal-style Bronnenberg house in the 1840s. Later additions were made in the rear of the home to retain the architectural fashion, which includes a cube shape, proportional spacing between windows, and strong horizontal lines.
His son, Ransom Bronnenberg, moved into the home in 1869 and likely added a second-story room with its own private staircase. Frederick, III, created the second addition around 1896 and is rumored to have leased 40 acres to the Union Traction Company in 1905.
This lease was to expand Mounds Amusement Park, which operated from 1897 to 1929.
Mounds State Park born
After the property was purchased by the Historical Society and given to the state of Indiana in 1930, the state park was born. The Bronnenberg home then became the lodgings of the park superintendent until the late 1950s.
In the mid-1970s, naturalists began using the home for activities until it fell into disrepair. Just when some were calling to raze the structure, the Friends of Mounds State Park stepped in to restore the historic home.