Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Charles E. Bauerle (1912-1952)

Charles E. Bauerle was born in 1912 into a growing brood of Bauerle children. Eventually they would number at least nine. The Bauerle family made its home on the south side of Indianapolis. I don't know much about the artist, but in 1938-1939, at age twenty-six, he completed a series of murals on nautical subjects at the new Indianapolis Naval Armory (now Heslar Naval Armory). The armory was constructed under the Works Progress Administration (WPA), a federal agency that also employed Charles Bauerle. His murals showed the Bonne Homme Richard in action during the Revolutionary War, the victory of the Lawrence and the Niagara over the British fleet in the War of 1812 (currently commemorated on a U.S. postage stamp), the Battle of Manila Bay from the Spanish-American War, and the arrival of American destroyers at Queenstown, Ireland, in May 1917. Each of the murals was twelve by fifteen feet. I'm not sure that they're still in existence. The artist, Charles E. Bauerle (whose name has been misspelled as "Bauerley") died in 1952 and is buried in Greenwood Cemetery, Greenwood, Indiana.

On the left, a photograph of a mural by Charles E. Bauerle, taken at the Indianapolis Naval Armory in 1938-1939. The mural shows the arrival of American destroyers at Queenstown, Ireland, in May 1917. On the right, the artist, who was five years old when that event took place. From the Indianapolis Times, Jan. 7, 1939.

Text and captions copyright 2013 Terence E. Hanley


  1. We toured the Armory this afternoon (11/5/16) and yes, the murals are still there and they will be restored and kept as part of the new Riverside School. It will be the sister school to the Herron Charter School at 16th and Pennsylvania with the first ninth grade class beginning in fall 2017. They are amazing.

    1. Thank you, Unknown, for confirming the existence of the murals. I'm glad they're still around. TH