Morris-Butler House

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Morris-Butler House
Morris-Butler House color.JPG
Location Indianapolis, Indiana
Coordinates 39°46′59.8″N 86°8′52.6″W / 39.783278°N 86.147944°W / 39.783278; -86.147944Coordinates: 39°46′59.8″N 86°8′52.6″W / 39.783278°N 86.147944°W / 39.783278; -86.147944
Built 1864
Architect D.A. Bohlen
Architectural style Second Empire
Governing body Private
NRHP Reference # 73000037 [1]
Added to NRHP February 20, 1973

The Morris-Butler House is a Second Empire-style house built in 1864-65 in Indianapolis, Indiana. It is part of Old Northside Historic District of Indianapolis. It is preserved as a museum home by Indiana Landmarks. The house contains many original features and pieces of furniture in Victorian & Post-Victorian styles.


John Morris, the son of an Indianapolis settler, had the house built by architect D.A. Bohlen in 1864. The house is located in what was then a suburb of Indianapolis, an area now known as the Old Northside. Morris lived in the house with his family until financial difficulties in the 1870s. In 1878 he sold the house to Noble Butler, a bankruptcy lawyer. Noble Butler lived in the house with his wife and seven children. His daughter, Florence Butler, lived in the house until she died on January 7, 1957. The makeup of the neighborhood at that point was quite different from before, with most of the homes being occupied by low-income renters and many homes suffering from neglect.[2]

The house was used as an artists' studio, gallery, and apartments between 1957 and 1964.[2]

Restoration as a historic house museum[edit]

HABS photo[3]

Eli Lilly bought the house in 1964 when it was in danger of being destroyed by the construction of Interstate 70. Eli Lilly lived a block away from the house when he married his first wife in the 1920s. He had known Florence Butler and was fond of the house. He provided $22,500 for the Historic Landmarks Foundation of Indiana (now Indiana Landmarks) to purchase the house.[4]

The restoration work included repairing warped floors, cleaning and repainting the darkened brickwork, and adding a new slate roof. The house was opened to the public in 1969.[4] Indiana Landmarks staffs the house with tour guides, coordinates further restoration, and hosts educational and cultural events.

Notable Styles & Features[edit]


  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2006-03-15. 
  2. ^ a b "Historic Landmarks Foundation of Indiana - Morris-Butler House History". Archived from the original on 2006-10-02. Retrieved 2007-03-24. 
  3. ^ Morris-Butler House, 1204 North Park Avenue, Indianapolis, IN - American Memory from the Library of Congress
  4. ^ a b "Historic Landmarks Foundation of Indiana - Morris-Butler House Restoration". Archived from the original on 2006-12-08. Retrieved 2007-03-24. 

External links[edit]