(1230 North Delaware Street). Designed by architect Herman T. Brandt in the Italianate style popular in the late 19th century, the home of Benjamin Harrison, the 23rd president of the United States, was built in 1874-1875. The house was finished in the spring of 1875 at a cost of $24,008.59.

The Italianate house has patriotic buntings hanging over the wooden railings of the balcony and veranda. The front yard displays a flagpole and is bordered by a low, black wrought iron fence.
President Benjamin Harrison Home, ca. 2000s Credit: Copyright by Lee Lewellen. All rights reserved. View Source

The 16-room, red brick house has a three-story bay window and the bracketed cornices typical of the style. A front porch was added by Harrison in 1895 (several years after his so-called “front porch campaign”). Inside are parquet floors, butternut woodwork, and a walnut staircase with oak trim. Harrison lived in the house before and after his term as president and died there in 1901. His move to the near northside set in motion a northward migration of the city’s prominent families.

In 1939 the Arthur Jordan School of Music (now jordan college of the arts at Butler University) purchased the house from Mary Lord Harrison, the president’s second wife. The school turned the first floor into a museum, using the second and third floors as student housing.

In 1964 the house became a National Historic Landmark, and in 1974 the Arthur Jordan Foundation renovated the building, turning it into a house museum. In 1966, a not-for-profit operating foundation was established to run the home as a historic site open to the public. From the 1950s until 1974, tours were by appointment only. After a 1974 renovation, the entire home was opened as a museum for regular daily tours. 

Operated as the Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site, it contains many of the Harrisons’ original furnishings and mementos and is visited by up to 35,000 people annually. In 2021-2022, the site underwent a major renovation following a $6 million capital campaign. Renovations to the home included extensive restoration of the third-floor ballroom and space for exhibitions and the Harrison presidential library. A Citizenship Plaza was added outside to honor citizens who are naturalized in an annual ceremony on the grounds held every July since 2003. 

Revised February 2021

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