Thursday, February 4, 2010

Morris-Butler House Tours Resume

The Morris-Butler House, an 1865 Victorian landmark at 1204 North Park Avenue, Indianapolis, offers tours focused on architecture, decorative arts and family life in the Victorian era. From the dramatic formal parlor to the private living quarters for family and servants, you'll learn how an upper-middle-class family and their staff lived in the second half of the nineteenth century.

Rare furnishings, including an ingenious Wooton desk, fill rooms adorned with stenciled ceilings and elaborate wallpaper and plasterwork. In addition to its large permanent display of nineteenth-century art, the Morris-Butler House collection contains sculptures, paintings and lithographs from all over the world.

The home is owned and operated by Historic Landmarks Foundation of Indiana. Open February through mid-December (closed January and holidays). Tours ($5) begin promptly on the hour.

The Morris-Butler House, a brick Second-Empire residence in the Old Northside neighborhood, takes its name from the two families who once lived there. In 1864, John Morris, the son of an Indianapolis settler, commissioned the construction of this house on land he bought from Ovid Butler, the founder of Butler University.

Morris was one of the first downtown residents to move to the new suburb north of downtown, but he was certainly not the last. What we now call the Old Northside quickly became the most fashionable place to live in Indianapolis. The Morris family occupied the house from 1865 to 1878, when they moved to Woodruff Place.

Noble Butler, a renowned bankruptcy lawyer, moved into the house three years later with his wife and seven young children. Members of the Butler family occupied the house until Florence Butler, Noble’s youngest daughter, died January 7, 1957.

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