In my work at Peace Learning Center in Eagle Creek Park, I have researched and documented many aspects of J.K. Lilly II who owned and developed woods, farmland, and properties that made up Eagle Crest Estate where the park now stands.
Peace Learning Center is in one of the mansions where it is reported Mr. Lilly’s wife loved to host dinners. Mr. Lilly also built a personal library that housed over 20,000 books, 15,000 manuscripts, and a $55 million coin collection. This building still stands as the Ornithology Center.
Mr. Lilly owned about 3,500 acres of the current 5,300 acres Eagle Creek Park.
Michael C. Jarrell a historian at Lilly Corporation visited this building. He told me about three noteworthy highlights of Mr. Lilly’s career at the company.
1) In 1916 as a young executive, he wrote a document called “A Report on Employment” a groundbreaking human resources policy that laid out rights and responsibilities of workers and management in an era of national labor strife and unrest.
2) During the Depression of the 1930’s, while Vice President of the Company, other executives in the company wanted to change their policy to require if single women were married during employment and their husbands worked, they would be asked to leave. Mr. Lilly wrote a number of memos opposing this proposal pushing back that women would not be treated like “household chattel.”
3) As President of the company in 1948 he made a hiring goal to increase the number and representation of African Americans in the company.
Peace Learning Center is proud to continue J.K. Lilly II’s humanitarian legacy by promoting fairness and equity for youth, women, and people of color by educating, inspiring and empowering people to live peacefully.