The History, The Classic Beauty of this Irvington Treasure
The house is of French Mansard design with linteled windows. The etched glass in the front doors and stairwell window a 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 area.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 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 great grandson.
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 property.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.
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.