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Nestled in the western edge of Warren Township in Marion County, just a few miles from downtown Indianapolis, is the extraordinary community of Historic Irvington, where everyone is welcome and the neighbors seem to say, “Come visit when you’d like, and stay if you can.”
Homes in Irvington are very affordable, with a 2 bedroom, 1 bath townhouse coop for as low as $59,000 to a beautifully restored Arts and Craft for $250,000.
Irvington Historic District, founded in 1870 by Jacob Julian and Sylvester Johnson, is named after the 19th-century writer Washington Irving. Originally, 300 acres of the complete 545-acre district were developed into residential plots four miles east of Indianapolis. From 1837 until 1928, Irvington was the home of Butler University (originally Western Christian University). During those years, Irvington was transformed into a bustling college community with a growing campus. The campus stretched into the southwest corner of Irvington between the Pennsylvania and B&O Railroad tracks.
All of the Butler buildings have since been demolished except the beautiful Bona Thompson Memorial Library (1903). The Bona Thompson Memorial Center is now home to the Irvington Historical Society, which has a public art gallery and houses many local historical pieces and documents. Juried art shows, event, meetings, weddings and receptions are also held at this striking landmark.
In 1902, Irvington was annexed by the city of Indianapolis. Throughout the early 1900s, a trolley system ran directly from downtown Indianapolis to Irvington along the present-day Washington Street (U.S. 40). The streets of Irvington are now lined with homes and cottages of every major American architectural style from 1870–1950, including Italianate, French, Second Empire, Victorian Gothic, Queen Anne, Arts and Crafts, Colonial Revival and Tudor Revival.
One of the most-noted homes in the district is the Benton House (1873), home of Allen R. Benton, twice president of Butler University in Irvington. A second is the Graham-Stephenson Mansion (1889), home of William H. H. Graham, who was part of the Benjamin Harrison administration. It also served as the Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority house for Butler University in 1923. Over three-fourths of Irvington homes were built before 1960, making this area a treasure-trove of structures bursting with history and character.
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1987, present-day Irvington has a quiet neighborhood feeling, with the benefits of local businesses and retail. Two rare gems in this area include the Irving Theatre (1913), which hosts musical talent of all types and The Studio School & Gallery, which hosts public art classes. Quaint shops and eateries mixed with historic structures and new facilities, such as the public library, make this a fun and exciting area for all ages and interests. One can even join with neighbors in the Irvington Garden Club to help keep the area looking spectacular.
A good selection of public and private schools are located in the Irvington District, along with lush green parks to run in after the school bell rings. Ellenberger Park is used for various special events, including an annual art fair hosted by the Irvington Guild of Artists.
Come visit if you like and stay if you can!
Homes for sale in Irvington are updated daily from the Indianapolis MLS with photos, maps, schools and neighborhood info
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