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The oldest houses in Indianapolis

Indianapolis is chock full of historic homes, but which ones are the oldest? Here’s your guide to the houses that have truly stood the test of time.

INDYtoday: INDY_Governor Ray House Park Avenue_MAY24

This house of Governor Ray’s isn’t the only one still standing; another of his homes in Brookville was recently restored by the Franklin County Citizens for Historic Preservation (FCCHP).

Photo by Helen Small

Ever wondered how old that Victorian on your street is? Or what historic district homes have graced their neighborhoods the longest? We did some research to uncover the interesting true stories of the oldest homes in Indianapolis.

The Sanders-Childers House | 1820 | 1020 E. Palmer St.
This two-story brick farmhouse in Bates-Hendricks is the oldest house in Indianapolis. It was constructed by William Sanders and has endured several cycles of degeneration and restoration. The home was most recently sold in 2018.

The Thomas Askren House | 1833 | 6550 E. 16th St.
This two-story, Federal style brick I-house has stood at the end of a tree-lined drive since about 1833 and is believed to be the second-oldest building in Marion County. It’s even listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Fun fact: The term “I-house” was coined in the 1930s by folk architecture specialist Fred Kniffen because the style was commonly built in Indiana, Illinois and Iowa, all states beginning with the letter “I”.

INDYtoday: INDY_Thomas Askren house historic places_MAY24

Thomas Askren, a Pennsylvania native and veteran of the War of 1812, arrived in Indiana in 1825 and built his home on approximately 1,000 acres of land.

Photo via Wikimedia commons

The Governor Ray House | 1835 | 302 N. Park Ave.
This Greek Revival house has stood at three different locations since its construction by former Governor James Brown Ray. It stood at the corner of Pearl and Alabama streets until about 1897, when the site was acquired for the Marion County Jail and the house was moved to 905 St. Peter St. In 1977, the house was moved one final time to its present site in Lockerbie Square and was faithfully restored to its original glory.

INDYtoday: INDY_Calvin Fletcher historic house_MAY24

One of the distinguishing features of the Calvin I. Fletcher house is an eight-sided corner tower with pointed arched windows on each side.

Photo via Wikimedia commons

There are many other houses that have also stood sentinel over Indianapolis for well over a century. Here are just a few not-quite-so-old but very notable homes you may recognize:

  • The John Fitch Hill House | 1852 |1523 Southeastern Ave.
  • The Bals-Wocher House | 1870 | 951 N. Delaware St.
  • The Byram–Middleton House | 1870 | 1828 N. Illinois St.
  • The Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site | 1875 | 1230 N. Delaware St.
  • The Calvin I. Fletcher House | 1895 | 1031 N. Pennsylvania St.
INDYtoday: INDY_Byram-Middleton historic house_MAY24

The two-story Byram-Middleton home was built in the Italianate style.

Photo via Wikimedia commons

Know any trivia about Indy’s oldest homes? We’d love to hear.

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