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Gardens

1 flowerThe Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site grounds feature an array of garden areas for visitors to enjoy. Our gardens are beautifully restored and masterfully cared for by nine volunteer gardeners (most of whom are Master Gardeners) who manicure and beautify the presidential estate on a weekly basis throughout the spring, summer and fall. They hail from local gardening associations, including: Garfield Park Master Gardeners, Arbutus Garden Club, Irvington Garden Club, Indianapolis Garden Club, Broad Ripple Garden Club, Hillcrest Garden Club, and Northside Master Gardeners. Our gardens provide a visual oasis for visitors and passers-by. They hold seasonal interest and historic relevance: the Freedom Garden is a completely transformed area—featuring small trees, shrubs and perennials—along a new brick walkway to our expanded restroom facility; the Presidential Lilac Garden boasts lilac plants that were cultivated in the late 1800s, when Benjamin Harrison was U.S. President.

Many of our 25,000 annual visitors stroll the grounds while awaiting their museum tour, especially in the warmer months when the gardens are in full bloom. We encourage you to do the same! A map of the gardens will guide you through the following garden areas: Elizabeth Harrison Rose Garden; "Shades" of the Past Hosta Garden; Freedom Garden; Day Lilies on Delaware Garden; Victorian Vintage Garden; Caroline Scott Harrison Herb Garden; Arbutus Garden; Centennial Perennial Garden; Hoosier Harvest Vegetable Garden; Presidential Lilac Garden; and our newest project!

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The Majestic Harrison Oak

The Harrison Oak has been designated as a historic tree by the America the Beautiful Fund.  It was also designated as the Millennium Landmark Tree in Indiana. Vine & Branch, Inc. has graciously and dutifully trimmed and maintained the Harrison Oak tree for many years so it can continue to welcome guests to the beautiful Harrison Site.


 

 

Pic for web of rose garden


Elizabeth Harrison Rose Garden

The Elizabeth Harrison Rose Garden located on the north side of the home offers brick pathways to walk through the period rose collection.


 

 

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Freedom Garden 

The Freedom Garden is located on the northwest edge of the property and is anchored by serviceberry trees, boxwood shrubs and knockout roses.


 

 

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Victorian Vintage Garden

A new grape arbor was constructed to support the original Concord Grapes that were planted on the property by the Harrison family when they resided here.


 

 

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Caroline Harrison Herb Garden

The herb garden contains a variety of herbs identified by labels that tell the use of herbs in the Victorian Era.


 

 

Arbutus web


Arbutus Garden

This garden plot, established and cared for by members of the Arbutus Garden Club, is especially beautiful in the spring with a show of tulips and Carlesii Viburnum.


 

 

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Hoosier Harvest Vegetable Garden

Growing in the vegetable garden each season are vegetables that are picked from the garden and put on the table. In President Harrison's time, the garden would have been much larger and the produce preserved by canning.

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Presidential Lilac Garden

This garden can be found on the southern-most border of the property, approximately 150 feet from the house, and features plants of pink, lavender, burgundy, blue and rose colors. 


 

 

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Grefsheim Spirea

These wonderful plants, appreciated by garden enthusiasts all over, cheerfully greet you at the front of the house. Upon closer inspection, the true beauty of the Grefsheim Spirea is revealed in breathtaking white flowers with bright white petals.


 

 

UMich Peony for web

Historic Peony Project

We are proud to serve as a satellite location for a University of Michigan historic peony project.  Our gardeners have capably led this project of harvesting heritage (1800s) peony rhizomes for further beautification and authenticity of our Site gardens.


 

 

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Hollyhocks

Tall hollyhocks stand stately on the property. This biennial plant flowers from mid-summer to late autumn. 


 

 

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Vintage Peonies

Vintage peonies form a lovely background to a limestone sculpture that was commissioned and won grand prize at the 1893 Columbian Exposition. 


 

 

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Herb Garden

A lonely foxglove stands erect in the herb garden. Digitalis provided by this plant acts as a cardiac tonic. 


 

 

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Irises

This planting of pale blue iris serves to connect the home with other gardens. 


 

A colorful thank you to the following community members, gardeners, gardening groups and foundations for supporting gardening initiatives at the Site.

  • Arbutus Garden Club
  • Broad Ripple Garden Club
  • Dataflow Systems
  • Helen Dickinson
  • Dolly Dold
  • Rosalie Fletcher
  • Garfield Park Master Gardeners
  • Janice Hannon
  • Ken and Georgia Hottell
  • Indianapolis Garden Club
  • Jamia Jacobsen
  • Marion County Master Gardener Association
  • Janice Michael*
  • Dick and Elizabeth Miller
  • Nancy Morse
  • The Principal Financial Group, in conjunction with National Garden Clubs, Inc.
  • Merle Ritter
  • Elizabeth and David Stevens
  • Steve Thomas
  • Vine & Branch, Inc.
  • Estate of Anne K. Williams
  • John W. Wynne Family Foundation

*deceased

 
 
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Adult Group Tours and Bus Tours


group-tour-1If you have a crowd (family reunion, bus tour, office outing, etc.) of 10 people or more, then you qualify for a group tour! Trained docents guide you on a 1 hour and 15 minute tour of the elegant home of Indiana's only U.S. president. The dining room features presidential china, and Harrison's study is filled with personal belongings from his White House years and his oval office desk. The majority (75%) of the house furnishings—which give an accurate view of the Victorian era—are original to the Harrison family, including the original wallpaper designs in the parlors and library.

The third floor ballroom exhibit changes yearly. A grand feature of our tours is that you are able to enter most historic rooms of the museum. However, there are three flights of stairs.  An elevator provides ease of access for the first two floors should your guests require it; an elevette allows access (one passenger plus guide per trip) to the third floor ballroom. Periods of standing are required throughout the tour.

We please ask visitors not to touch or lean on furniture, artifacts, etc.  There is no waiting area or visitor center.  If you have time restraints or a larger group with mobility issues and prefer or require a first floor (only) tour of the museum, the rate is the same due to the fact that we must staff the tour like any other. 

We do offer the option of a tour guide boarding your bus to give an overview of the first floor before your guests enter the museum. We want to maximize the enjoyment of your experience.This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with any questions you have.

group-tour-2Scheduling

  • To qualify for the discounted $8 per person rate, adult group tours and bus tours must have between 10 and 120 guests.
  • A reservation is required and allows us to plan accordingly for your visit and schedule your group at times other than the strict 30 minute increments (on the hour and half hour) for walk-up tour visitation.
  • PleaseThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call (317) 631-2717 weekdays from 9am to 5pm.

group-tour-3Facilities and Features

  • Gardens throughout grounds.
  • President's Cabinet Gift Shop.
  • Special tours for sight and hearing impaired visitors.
  • Restroom Facilities: white building with brown trim, located behind the home.

LIVE from Delaware Street


group-tour-4Benjamin and Caroline Harrison personally welcome visitors to their home on special live enactor tour days. 
The Harrisons discuss their lives both as Indianapolis residents and as White House residents, while their dedicated staff shares family secrets with guests. This special program is offered four times a year: Presidents' Day in February, Primary Day in May, Election Day in November, and a Saturday in mid-December featuring a Harrison "Family Christmas." Specific dates, times and costs are listed on our Events calendar.

 

 

group-tour-5A Walking Tour of Delaware Street

Benjamin Harrison's move to Delaware Street in 1875, and that of many city leaders and captains of industry (i.e. John Schmidt), made Delaware Street a desired place to live in Indianapolis.  Now known as the Old Northside, this area was home to author Meredith Nicholson, the meeting place of suffragette May Wright Sewall, the residence of Charleston Eden— founder of the first indoor mall in America. The homes on this tour match the past occupants' classical, playful and eccentric personalities.  You will learn the history of the homes, their residents and architectural styles.  Attendees will be given a handout with glossary of terms that will allow you to be a hunter of historic architecture in whatever neighborhood you chose to visit next.

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  • Cost is $10 per person.
  • By appointment only.
  • PleaseThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call (317) 631-2717 weekdays from 9am to 5pm.
  • Allow 1 to 1.5 hours for this experience.
  • Will be cancelled/rescheduled due to inclement weather.
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Directions

From Southbound I-65

Meridian Street exit (#113), proceed east after exit (straight), cross Meridian and Pennsylvania to Delaware, turn left and proceed north to 1230 N. Delaware.  It is the first house on your left.  

From Northbound I-65

Pennsylvania Street exit (#113), turn left from exit on to Pennsylvania, turn left again on to 11th Street, and turn left again on to Delaware Street.  It is the first house on your left.

Parking

Parking is free and non-permit along Delaware Street or in our small parking lot off 13th Street.  Do not park in the REI / Landmark lot under the overpass.  Do not park in the lots assigned to apartment tenents.  You will risk being towed in those locations.

Museum Address

1230 North Delaware Street
Indianapolis, IN 46202
317-631-1888


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Hours and Cost

Hours:

Monday through Saturday 10am to 3:30pm
Sundays (June and July only)
12pm to 3:30pm

Tours are on the hour and half-hour, and last approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes. On regular tour days, the last tour begins at 3:30pm. Check our Special Events listing for event and program dates with different admission prices; tour format, hours and pricing are subject to change on those dates.

Tour Costs:

Adults:  $10
Seniors & AAA:  $9
Children (5 - 12):  $5
Members: Free General Admission

Eventbrite - Tours of the Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site 2016

Group Rates are available.  Reservations must be made 2 weeks in advance.  Call 317-631-1888.

2017 Closings:

The first three weeks in January January 2-21*
Memorial Day Weekend May 27-29
Labor Day September 4
Thanksgiving Day November 23
Christmas Holiday December 25                     

*Closed to the public/no tours, but office is open Monday through Friday starting Jan. 2, 2017.

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Plan Your Visit

Visit-1Thank you for your interest in experiencing the home and gardens of the only U.S. president elected from the state of Indiana! The Delaware Street home of Benjamin Harrison is open for guided tours on the hour and half-hour Monday through Saturday. The museum is also open on Sundays in June and July. Visitors will see 10 rooms in the museum, including the third floor ball room (when it is not closed to mount a new exhibit). All floors can be accessible by elevator.

Tour Schedule and Hours

The museum offers daily guided tours from January 23 through December 30, 2017. 
Tours are on the hour and half-hour, and last approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes. For map, directions and parking, click here.  Check our Special Events listing for event and program dates with different admission prices.

  • Monday through Saturday:  10am to 3:30pm
  • Sundays (June and July only):  12pm to 3:30pm
  • On regular tour days, the last tour begins at 3:30pm.
  • Tour format, hours and pricing are subject to change on dates that we have Special Events.


2017 Closings:

The first three weeks in January    January 2-21*
Memorial Day Weekend May 27-29
Labor Day September 4
Thanksgiving Day November 23
Christmas Holiday December 25

*Closed to the public/no tours, but office is open Monday through Friday starting Jan. 2, 2016.

Tour Costs

  • Members: FREE
  • Adults: $10
  • Seniors: $9
  • Students (ages 5 to 12): $5
  • Group Rates are available: Reservations must be made 2 weeks in advance by calling.

    Eventbrite - Tours of the Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site 2016

Tour Description

The 1875 Italianate Victorian family home of President Benjamin Harrison—our country's 23rd U.S. President (1889-1893) and Indiana 's only President—figured prominently in Harrison's campaign for the presidency and provides insight into his family's life and history.  The three-level historic landmark recently underwent $400,000 in restoration work thanks to a Save America's Treasures grant.  The home is beautifully furnished with many of Harrison's paintings, furniture, and other artifacts including political memorabilia. The reconstructed carriage house (located behind the home) features changing exhibits and is our Welcome Center.

Recent visitors fondly recall their tour experiences:

"As a historic house enthusiast and a frequent visitor to Indianapolis, I cannot recommend a tour of the President Benjamin Harrison house more highly.  I was fascinated not only by the handsome Italianate brick house, which retains so much of its original architectural detail, but also by the amazingly intact interior, with its collection, largely original, of period furniture and decorations.

And, the historic collection—related to President Harrison, his family, Indiana and the nation at large—makes the museum all the more rich and fascinating.  Having toured so many house museums throughout the country, I was impressed by the depth of knowledge of the museum staff.  My guide was incredibly fluent not only about the house, its contents and its famous resident, but about the larger historical context as well.  The Harrison house is truly one of Indiana's architectural and historic treasures."   ~ James Sansum, New York

"I just had to write to let you know how very much we enjoyed our visit in early November!  The Home, itself, is fascinating—but certainly what made our visit so enjoyable was Mary's hospitality and enthusiasm.  She was warm and welcoming from the very start, and had the most genuine dedication to making the visit interesting to our children.  I can't think of any other historic home that would have appealed to a 5- and 7-year-old!  If only every museum had a "Mary," imagine what sparks would ignite in our children's minds! Thank you very much for the rich experiences you provide.  We wish for you many more years of success and support." ~ Trish Cowan, St. Louis

Ink Drawing of Benjamin Harrison's Home

 

“An American citizen could not be a good citizen who did not have a hope in his heart.” ~ Benjamin Harrison

Share Harrison's passion for giving and become a member, donor or volunteer of the Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site.