History, The Classic Beauty of this Irvington Treasure
This home of native brick, elaborate with tower
and cupola, was built by Nicholas Ohmer in 1873, and no doubt
was one of five styles intended to be models for the community
of Irvington. However, the economic panic of the 1870's forced
people to build more modest homes on smaller lots.
The house is of French Mansard design with linteled
windows. The etched glass in the front doors and stairwell
window are reproductions which add to the beauty of the entry.
The shutters were found in the crawlspace part of the basement.
The hanging staircase is one of the only two in the Indianapolis
The house has been restored in the style of
the period with reproduction wallpaper that is a replica of
circa 1900 which might have been used in the house while it
was owned by Dr. Benton and his wife, Silence. It served as
their home from 1880-1907. The residence was then purchased
by Willis and Isabelle Miller and their family resided in
the house for many years. Their son, Herschel Eugene Miller
sold the home to the Irvington Historic Landmarks Foundation
in 1966. The house now contains two chairs from the Miller
period which were given to Landmarks by Michael Miller, a
The house was purchased by the Irvington Historic
Landmarks Foundation as a meeting place for area clubs and
can be used for private parties, wedding and retreats. All
proceeds from these events go toward the maintenance of The
Benton House and future renovations.
Recent projects have included carpet for the
stairs, new sidewalks and a major fundraising campaign for
the restoration of the slate roof, gutters and downspouts.
The period chandeliers, ornaments and furnishings
were generously donated by friends of The Benton House and
create a quiet beauty of another era. A full time caretaker
is in residence for the maintenance and protection of the
In 1973 the home was placed on the National
Register of Historic Places. The Benton House is also listed
as an Indiana Museum. It is the only house on the National
Register on the Indianapolis East Side listed in the Historic
Register that is available to the public. The mission of the
Irvington Historic Landmarks Foundation, Inc. and The Benton
House Association is to preserve this lovely, unique structure
for the enjoyment of present and future generations.