Oberholzter Home - 5802 University Avenue

Irvington Neighborhood Biking Tour

Oberholzter Home - 5802 University Avenue

Indianapolis, Indiana 46219, United States

Created By: Historic Urban Neighborhoods of Indianapolis


Year Built: 1902

Architecture Style: Arts and Crafts

Key Features:

  • Central Fireplace and Decorative Masonry
  • Double Front Doors
  • Decorative Window over Porch

During the roaring ‘20s, Indianapolis was flourishing as many high end car makers like Duesenberg were producing cars in the city. Prohibition came into effect to the delight or dismay of residents. And the Ku Klux Klan held a great deal of political power throughout the state.

Madge Oberholzter was a young woman with dark hair, who lived in this house with her parents. She attended Butler University here in Irvington, although she didn’t graduate. She worked for the State of Indiana.

She met D.C. Stephenson, the Grand Dragon of the KKK who was seeking to expand the Klan’s power even more in 1925. The story of Madge and D.C. Stephenson was not only a city and a state tragedy, but a national tragedy as well.

D.C. Stephenson joined the KKK in 1920, while living in Evansville. Through cunning and charisma, he quickly rose to the position of Grand Dragon of Indiana, and was the most powerful man in the state due to the Klan’s influence in all levels of politics.

In 1925, he was attempting to get KKK ideas integrated into Indiana school curriculum. Madge Oberholzter was a state employee who Stevenson thought could assist him. Stephenson set out to woo Madge to his cause, and invited her to what he said was a party at his house. Unfortunately, instead of a party, Stephenson kidnapped, raped, and tortured the 28-year old woman on a train bound for Chicago.

After Stephenson’s brutal attack and rape on the train to Chicago, Madge took poison and attempted suicide. Stephenson’s henchmen left Madge on her parent’s doorstep. It took Madge a month to die, mostly from her infected injuries from Stephenson’s attack. Before her death, her doctor heard her deathbed confession. D.C. Stephenson, the formerly untouchable powerhouse, was charged and convicted of rape and murder. Madge’s confession was instrumental in bringing down Stephenson and by extension, the KKK in Indiana. Her death, though tragic, was critical in the dramatic decline of the KKK.

This point of interest is part of the tour: Irvington Neighborhood Biking Tour


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