Harrison, Benjamin, House
The Benjamin Harrison Home, 2008
|Location:||1230 N. Delaware Street
|Architect:||Herman T. Brandt|
|Visitation:||25,303 (2009 )|
|Added to NRHP:||October 15, 1966|
|Designated NHL:||January 29, 1964|
The Benjamin Harrison Home, in the Old Northside Historic District of Indianapolis, Indiana, was the home of the Twenty-third President of the United States, Benjamin Harrison. Benjamin Harrison had the house built in the 1870s of red brick, and it had sixteen rooms. It was from the front porch of the house that Benjamin Harrison instituted his famous Front Porch Campaign in the 1888 United States Presidential Campaign, often speaking to crowds on the street. In 1896, Harrison renovated the house and added electricity. Benjamin Harrison died there in a second story bedroom in 1901. Today it is owned by the Arthur Jordan Foundation and operated as a museum to Benjamin Harrison by the Benjamin Harrison Foundation.
Benjamin Harrison arrived in Indianapolis in 1854 in order to begin a career as a lawyer. In 1867, following his service in the military, he bought a double lot from an auction, on what was then the outskirts of town, on North Delaware Street, just north of present-day I-65. In 1874 construction of a house on the property began, and was completed in 1875, at the cost of $24,818.67 (equal to $518,861 today). The trend for wealthier citizens of Indianapolis to move to the north side of town started with Benjamin Harrison moving his family to 1230 Delaware Street. When built, the property featured many elm and oak trees. Except for the time Benjamin Harrison served as United States Senator from Indiana (1881-1887), and his time as President of the United States (1889-1893), he would live at the home for the rest of his life. Benjamin Harrison would die in the master bedroom of the house on March 13, 1901. While running for president in 1888, Benjamin Harrison would issue campaign speeches to listeners on the street outside his home, in what were called "front-porch speeches". The front porch would not be built until 1896, 3 years after he left the presidency.
After Benjamin Harrison's death, his widow Mary Lord Dimmick Harrison owned the property. In 1939 Mary Lord Harrison sold the house to the Arthur Jordan School of Music (now located at Butler University as the Jordan College of Fine Arts), on the grounds that the house would always serve as a memorial to Benjamin Harrison. The Arthur Jordan School renovated the house, turning the second and third floors into a dormitory for the female students of the school, and making the first floor a museum. The Benjamin Harrison Home became a National Historic Landmark in 1966. In 1974 the Arthur Jordan Foundation once again renovated the house, making it a house museum. The Arthur Jordan Foundation currently leases the house to the 1966-incorporated Benjamin Harrison Foundation, in order for the latter to run a museum inside the house.
The Italianate Benjamin Harrison House was built at 1230 Delaware Street from 1874 to 1875, using the plans of architect Herman T. Brandt. The red brick house has sixteen rooms. The bracketed cornices and three-story bay window are indicative of the Italianate architecture style. Interior features include an oak-trimmed walnut staircase, butternut woodwork, and parquet floors. Many renovations took place in 1896, which included electricity and the front porch.
Presently, the house is open for tours throughout the weeks. Ten of the sixteen rooms are open for visitors, all decorated in the Victorian style typical of Benjamin Harrison's time at the residence. 75% of the 3,700 pieces of memorabilia actually belonged to Benjamin Harrison and his family, and the books in the museum number 2,440. Besides archive regarding Benjamin Harrison, the house also features archives of the Daughters of the American Revolution. The front parlor is set to look as it did when Benjamin Harrison brought his new bride to the house.
- "2009 Annual Report: A Publication of the Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site". Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site. Retrieved 2011-08-17.
- "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2007-01-23.
- "Harrison, Benjamin, Home". National Historic Landmark summary listing. National Park Service. Retrieved 2008-07-24.
- Mendinghall, Joseph Scott (April 13, 1975). "National Register of Historic Places Inventory-Nomination Form: Benjamin Harrison Home". National Park Service. and Accompanying eight photos from 1975
- Bodenhamer, David. The Encyclopedia of Indianapolis (Indiana University Press, 1994) pg.318
- National Park Service - The Presidents (Benjamin Harrison Home)
- President Benjamin Harrison Home, Indianapolis, Indiana
- Benjamin Harrison Home Website
- National Park Service site on the Benjamin Harrison Home
- "Life Portrait of Benjamin Harrison", broadcast from the Benjamin Harrison Home from C-SPAN's American Presidents: Life Portraits
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