Thanks to Alexander Ralston’s 1821 design of the capital city and those who followed his lead, Indianapolis presents a practical, easy-to-navigate grid of ruler-straight streets. Which makes the areas that deviate from the grid—like Irvington, an 1870s planned suburb on the city’s east side—all the more inviting. In May, we offer you two ways to explore Irvington—on bike or on foot.
A National Register-listed district where Craftsman bungalows and period revival homes line the curving, tree-lines streets, Irvington is a wonderful place for a bike tour. The area experienced a building boom in the 1870s when Butler University arrived there. The university stayed in Irvington for 54 years and landmarks from the period include the university’s library (which will be open for the tour) and the 1873 Second Empire-style Benton House, built for a Butler president.
Our May 20 bike tour begins at Ellenberger Park, where you’ll hear about Kessler’s park plan. You’ll ride through all corners of Irvington including Irvington Gardens, Pleasanton, and Lover’s Lane, and circle all three of Irvington’s circles before stopping at the Irvington Methodist Church and Bona Thompson Memorial Center. You’ll see the varied architecture of historic homes in the neighborhood, ranging from Second Empire to Arts and Crafts and Prairie style. Hear stories about the artists, suffragettes, and students who lived in Irvington.
To make sure you have a great tour, we limit each timed entry group to 15 people.
Indiana Landmarks and Historic Urban Neighborhoods of Indianapolis partner with Vintage Irvington blogger Bill Gulde and the Irvington Historical Society to present the Irvington walking and bike tours in May, Preservation Month in Indiana and across the nation.