History of the Thompson-Ray House

This beautiful historic home on the corner of 4th and Main Streets in Gas City, Indiana, has been owned by two prominent Grant County families. The home was built during the first decade of the 1900’s, and restored 100 years later through a generous grant from the Office of Community and Rural Affairs and the contributions of numerous local citizens.

It is listed on both the state and national historic registers. It houses LEAD, Inc., as well as the Gas City Chamber and the Grant County Convention and Visitors Bureau. The home is available to rent for meetings and private gatherings of all kinds.  

A House of Leaders:

John L. Thompson came to Gas City in 1892 from his Monroe Township farm to start Thompson Bottling Co., which became the community's largest employer. He started building the house in 1902, the same year his wife died. It took him four years to finish the house, and a daughter lived with him here until 1921. He was very active in civic affairs and admired by the community. He passed away in 1922.

His son, William O. Thompson, along with his wife Lela and their children John L. and Mary Virginia, moved into the house in 1923. William was the glass factory superintendent.

When the factory was sold to Owens-Illinois in 1929, William went to Marion and became part owner of Kleder and Thompson Insurance Co. He passed away in 1956, and Lela lived in the house until 1957. She then sold the house to Robert Ray.

Bob and Marguerite Ray moved into the house in 1958. Bob was the Mayor of Gas City for more than two decades and also a realtor and insurance businessman.  

Marguerite was the first lady of Gas City not only while Bob served as Mayor, but throughout her life. She owned the Avalon Hotel and was always taking care of people in the community to see that they had somewhere to live. She opened up her home to people that needed someplace to stay. “She touched so many lives over the years. She was just one of those people who dedicated her life to serving others,” Gas City Mayor Larry Leach.

After Marguerite passed away, the family sold the house to what is today LEAD, Inc. to pass on a heritage of leadership and community service for future generations.

For our Friends

You can become a “Friend of the Thompson-Ray House” by making an annual donation of $25.

Your gift to LEAD, Inc. will help continue the preservation of this historic home. Friends will receive discounts to use the home.

Please contact us for more details by calling 765-251-8732.