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James Whitcomb Riley Museum Home

40 Reviews
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James Whitcomb Riley Museum Home

40 Reviews
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528 Lockerbie St, Indianapolis, IN 46202-3617
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Taylor B wrote a review Jan 2020
Chicago, Illinois6,566 contributions5,383 helpful votes
The first thing you should know about the James Whitcomb Riley Museum Home in Indianapolis, Indiana, is that it really isn't the home of the American writer, poet and best-selling author who was known as the "Hoosier Poet" and "Children's Poet" and "poet of the common people." Built in 1872 by John R. Nickum, an Indianapolis baker, it was occupied by Nickum's daughter and her husband, Charles Holstein, a lawyer, when they invited Riley to live with them in 1893. Riley had a bedroom on the second floor for 23 years. Located at 528 Lockerbie Street, the two-story brick house is considered an excellent example of Italianate and Late Victorian architecture typical of the neighborhood's homes built in the 1860s and 1870s. After Riley and the Holsteins died, ownership of the house was transferred to the James Whitcomb Riley Memorial Association. Most of the household items of Riley's day, except for the kitchen, remain on display. Noted items are the wicker chair which Riley frequently used after his stroke in 1911 and the bed on which he died on July 22, 1916. Other features include a bust of Riley by Myra Reynolds Richards, a central tower with oval-glazed paired doors and masonry crowns atop tall narrow windows and inverted U-shaped windows on the highest floor. Interestingly, water pumps took water from the well to tanks within the attic that could supply water to different rooms in the house. The interior woodwork is all hand-carved solid hardwoods. And note the speaking tubes that were installed so the staff could receive orders in the kitchen from other parts of the house. The house was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1962 and added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1966.
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Date of experience: January 2020
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Rick H wrote a review Nov 2019
Indianapolis, Indiana38 contributions18 helpful votes
Outstanding guide James., outstanding knowledge of the home and life of Riley ,The building has been preserved in the days of Riley living there
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Date of experience: November 2019
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BorneAppetit wrote a review Sep 2019
Indianapolis, Indiana177 contributions95 helpful votes
I never thought much about J Whit and decided to do this tour just for the heck of it. I am glad that I did. Even though I am not familiar with his works, the tour was very interesting and enlightening. Everything has been left in the house from his time... very few museums can say that.
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Date of experience: September 2019
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mburbank2016 wrote a review Nov 2018
Noblesville, Indiana415 contributions66 helpful votes
They have worked hard on restoring and keeping this house looking beautiful. It's been many years since I've visited and I think it's time for another visit to see what's changed. It's worth taking about an hour to tour the house and learn about James Whitcomb Riley.
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Date of experience: December 2017
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Dewayne P wrote a review Oct 2018
Elizabethtown, Kentucky1,118 contributions264 helpful votes
I actually knew very little about Mr. James Whitcomb Riley but do love historic houses so I figured why not stop by. There was a short film about his life prior to my tour which was informative as a baseline for the tour itself. The house is in immaculate condition, left just as it was in the early 20th century after his passing. The docent was very detailed and provided a sense of ownership to his life story which made the tour that much better. The price was cheap at $4, with free parking on site.
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Date of experience: October 2018
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