Friday, August 30, 2013

iPhone drive-by: Benton House

I made a short trip to the Irvington neighborhood on the Eastside of Indianapolis this afternoon to buy a copy of Out Loud, the new book by recently retired Indianapolis Star columnist Dan Carpenter. It's his second compilation of his best columns over the years.

On the return trip from the store, Bookmamas, driving through the snaking roads in the neighborhood south of Washington Street, I came upon Benton House, a destination on Downey Avenue that I'd wanted to check out for several years.  I just wasn't able to make it there ... until today.

Caught again without my usual photo gear, I turned to my iPhone5, and captured the photos you see in this post. The home was built in 1873, as the history page of the provided house link will explain. It was home to Allen R. Benton, twice president of Butler University in the school's years when it was located in Irvington.

The Bentons sold the home in 1907 to the Willis Miller family, who kept it until selling it in 1966 to the Irvington Historic Landmarks Foundation, which avails the building for use as a meeting place for area clubs and for private parties, wedding and retreats. Proceeds from rental fees go toward home's maintenance and future renovation.

The sign attached to the tree in the lead-off photo promotes the 2013 Legacy Irvington Benton House Tour of Homes on Sunday, Sept. 15, from noon to 5 p.m. Tour organizers say the Benton House Tour of Homes is the longest consecutively run home tour in Indianapolis. Since 1974, there have been nearly 200 Irvington homes and buildings showcased on the tour. A paragraph on this tour page at the Benton House website describes some of the homes on this year's tour.

Tickets for the tour are $12 in advance and $15 the day of the tour. Children under 12 years of age are admitted free. Tickets can be purchased at Irvington shops and restaurants, including Central Ace Hardware, Dufour’s restaurant, Black Sheep Gifts, Snips and Bookmamas. On the day of the event, tickets can be purchased at Benton House, 312 S. Downey Ave., Indianapolis, IN 46219.

For more information, call (317) 372-2372 or email

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