You’ve done the traditional 4th of July cookout and fireworks. This year, put the history back into the holiday by attending the July 4 Ice Cream Social at the President Benjamin Harrison Home.
As the home of the 23rd U.S. president and Indiana’s only president, this 1875 Italianate Victorian house has been restored to look almost exactly as it did when the Harrisons lived there. On July 4, ice cream will be available on the lawn from 11:30am-4pm as patriotic reenactors celebrate with you, live music plays and you watch a reenactment of Benjamin Harrison’s July 4, 1888, presidential nomination acceptance speech. The ice cream social costs $10 for adults and $4 for students and lunch foods will be available for purchase.
Located at 1230 N. Delaware in downtown Indianapolis, the house is truly a charming place to visit and an important piece of Indiana’s history. On my first visit, I was impressed by the amount of attention and detail I received from the very knowledgeable tour guide. A few months later I returned for Victorian Theatre by Candlelight, a fun and spooky evening of short murder mystery plays that were very well done and were enhanced by the atmosphere of the old house.
The house hosts an incredible array of events year-round. Progressive dinners throughout the historical district offer you great food and glimpses into other historical spots. Live events on Primary Day, Election Day, President’s Day and near Christmas let you watch the Harrisons interact as they would have on those same days in the late 1800s. Other events include croquet tournaments, naturalization ceremonies, speaker series and storytelling events for children.
For a traditional tour, visit Mon.-Sat., 10am-3:30pm on the hour or half hour. The hour-long guided tours take you through the mansion and the carriage house as the guide describes the architecture, furnishings, history and exhibits in the house. Visitors are then free to explore the gardens and the gift shop on their own. Tour admission is well worth the cost at $3 for ages 5-17, $8 for ages 18-64 and $6 for those over 65.