1876 – Indianapolis, IN – $385,000

Status may not be current or/and may accept additional offers. Contact the agent to verify.
Added to OHD on 2/17/21   -   Last OHD Update: 2/20/21   -   51 Comments
Contingent or Pending Sale

5631 University Ave, Indianapolis, IN 46219

Map: Street

  • $385,000
  • 3 Bed
  • 2.5 Bath
  • 4689 Sq Ft
  • 0.32 Ac.
A rare opportunity to purchase the 1876 Johnson House, often referred to as the Irvington Castle! A masterpiece of design with 2 turrets, intricate brick design & dominant features guaranteed to steal your heart! Be a part of the home's rich history named after the founder of Irvington. With 6 fireplaces, 12ft ceilings, transom windows, French doors, original hardwood floors & a grand staircase, this striking Victorian Gothic home is simply captivating! The unique windows nearly reach the floor & flood the home with natural light. Access the inviting roof top views of the South Audubon Circle from the turret! Dual staircases, 3 generously sized bdrms, 2.5 baths & laundry rm that doubles as a home office complete this Irvington dream!
Contact Information
Molly Hadley, F.C. Tucker Company
(317) 446-7656
Links, Photos & Additional Info

State: | Region:
Period & Associated Styles: ,
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51 Comments on 1876 – Indianapolis, IN – $385,000

OHD does not represent this home. Comments are not monitored by the agent. Status, price and other details may not be current, verify using the listing links up top. Contact the agent if you are interested in this home.
  1. Kelly, OHDKelly, OHD says: 12242 comments
    Admin

    1901 Folk Victorian
    Chestatee, GA

    2018 old listing (no big changes): https://www.oldhousedreams.com/2018/04/25/1876-indianapolis-in-2/

    +2
  2. MichaelMichael says: 2977 comments
    1979 That 70's show
    Otis Orchards, WA

    From the old listing that Kelly posted I noticed the kitchen range has been swapped out. I think I prefer the old one, personally. What’s not to love about this grand old home? I still wonder about the porch and what it may have looked like originally.

    I would love to see a shot of the inside of that great round tower. Volunteers, anyone?

    +6
    • HermsHerms says: 9 comments

      Hi Michael! Current owner here. The previous vintage stove was sold by the previous owners prior to my family and me purchasing the home in 2018. The current stove, a 1953 Chambers, is one I purchased and restored in 2014.
      The inside of the main tower can be seen in the listing photos: the round entry on the first floor, the reading nook on the second. It’s possible to go up to the very top via an access panel on the ceiling of the reading nook. Strangely, it has never been finished out.

      +3
      • MichaelMichael says: 2977 comments
        1979 That 70's show
        Otis Orchards, WA

        Hello, Emily! I can’t imagine the home you must be moving into to give up this great looking home! You did an amazing job in restoring that stove. I still prefer the one in the old listings but I applaud you for selecting a great stove to replace it. I love the round park across the street!

        +1
  3. RosewaterRosewater says: 7277 comments
    OHD Supporter

    1875 Italianate cottage
    Noblesville, IN

    Iconic Indianapolis house requires better kitchen and bath design.

    +6
  4. BethanyBethany says: 3470 comments
    OHD Supporter

    1983 White elephant
    Escondido, CA

    Anticipointment level is high on this one. The outside is tantalizing . . .

    +6
  5. hearsetraxhearsetrax says: 242 comments
    VA

    not without it’s many charms, but needs a bit of basic TLC and paint
    but talk about a lovely leg breaker stair case YIKES !!!

    +1
  6. MJGMJG says: 2407 comments
    OHD Supporter

    CT

    Cool looking towers. I love towers. Sadly the front porch isn’t original and looks as if the early 1900s era adjusted the staircase.

    +6
    • snarlingsquirrelsnarlingsquirrel says: 283 comments
      OHD Supporter

      1782 Quaker Georgian
      Worton, MD

      I generally argue to keep the comfy, deep-porch additions, but I’d agree with you on this house. Maybe just cover it in flowering vines and focus on the interior restoration first. What do you think about the porch on the Goshen house that I posted below for this one MJG (minus the later boulder wall)?

      0
      • MJGMJG says: 2407 comments
        OHD Supporter

        CT

        I totally agree. Grow Dutchman’s pipe or some other period porch vine to lighten the heaviness of the porch until the columns and railings can be replaced with more period appropriate one.

        The one you posted below is more appropriate. It is a better balance with the hosue and the design seems to be more cohesive with the structure.

        +1
    • HermsHerms says: 9 comments

      Current owner here. The front porch was added in 1913, hence the arts and crafts styling.

      +1
      • MJGMJG says: 2407 comments
        OHD Supporter

        CT

        Ah welcome here and thanks for confirmation on that. Do you know if there are any photos of the house prior to this addition? I also didn’t realize there was a flat part to the roof creating a roof deck. I wonder if that was railed at one time.

        +1
        • HermsHerms says: 9 comments

          There are a few pre-porch photos but they are small and blurry.
          As for the flat roof, there photos from the 70s that show a white railing, so it was likely used as a rooftop deck back then!

          0
  7. snarlingsquirrelsnarlingsquirrel says: 283 comments
    OHD Supporter

    1782 Quaker Georgian
    Worton, MD

    I wonder why they stopped at only two picturesque towers.

    The exterior is so fun and expressive. How can you look at all those weather vanes, brackets, and dormers and not grin? It’s as though it’s from a storybook illustration. I suspect it’s from a pattern book. I do love how the rear tower is reduced in scale to give the impression of an even larger house. The “widow’s walk” on top is probably the size of a barrel, or smaller.

    Her depressed, gutted sibling lives in New York:
    https://www.realtor.com/realestateandhomes-detail/260-Main-St_Goshen_NY_10924_M33318-20390

    +2
    • I live in Goshen and this baby has been abandoned for forever. We have so many beautiful old homes here. I’m on my second old girl. Happy to see Goshen pop up. This is one of my favorite sites to visit.

      +3
      • snarlingsquirrelsnarlingsquirrel says: 283 comments
        OHD Supporter

        1782 Quaker Georgian
        Worton, MD

        I love Goshen Mcpheeta, and you’re so right about having so many beautiful old homes! We’ve had so many good visits to our friend there, and I admit I’ve stuck my nose up against the windows in that house several times over the years. It looked like someone was giving it the good try, and then lost steam at one point. Can you remember if it still has its mantles and staircase intact?

        I posted our friend’s Goshen Greek Revival house in the Link Exchange last week. We’ll miss staying there:
        https://www.realtor.com/realestateandhomes-detail/25-South-St_Goshen_NY_10924_M35304-06226

        +1
    • CindyHCindyH says: 114 comments

      How sad they would let it get in that shape. I’m surprised that the price is that high, especially when they don’t show any pictures of the interior.

      +1
    • HermsHerms says: 9 comments

      Current owner here. The “widows walk” is approximately 6 or 7 feet in diameter. Bigger than a barrel, but not roomy!
      It’s possible the design of the house is from a pattern book; the architect is unknown and there are no existing blueprints.

      +2
    • MJGMJG says: 2407 comments
      OHD Supporter

      CT

      Is that a roof deck or simply the witches hat cut down.

      0
      • HermsHerms says: 9 comments

        The diameter of the main, four story high tower is 6 or 7 feet. It’s possible to go all the way up, where the four windows are, via an access panel in the ceiling of the second floor. It’s never been finished out, strangely. My husband’s dream was to put in a spiral staircase, but that wasn’t terribly high on the list of priorities.
        The roof deck is approximately 12×15.

        +2
        • MJGMJG says: 2407 comments
          OHD Supporter

          CT

          Oh i misunderstood what you meant by “widows walk”. That term I’ve heard used to describe roof decks, cupolas and even towers sometimes. Though I most commonly hear that 20th century term to describe roof decks 🙂
          Thanks for clarifying. I think that would be a cool idea to have a spiral stair. but clearly it was originally not intended to be used and only be a decorative exterior tower then.

          +1
    • ctmeddctmedd says: 449 comments

      Poor neglected baby! She cold be so beautiful.

      0
  8. RayRay says: 206 comments
    OHD Supporter

    1958 prarie, or mid century
    Escondido, CA

    OK I’ll take it, but i’m keeping the log cabin too.

    +1
  9. JimHJimH says: 5401 comments
    OHD Supporter

    Agree with above: it’s a great old house that needs a more authentic interpretation.

    I think that muscleman staging guy from HGTV was here:
    https://www.oldhousedreams.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/39-5631universityavenue.jpg

    +4
  10. snarlingsquirrelsnarlingsquirrel says: 283 comments
    OHD Supporter

    1782 Quaker Georgian
    Worton, MD

    Kim Z posted this on the old listing, and it’s worth seeing (at least for the old photos, pre-porch). And, there’s some good conversation about the porch in the old listing comments:
    http://vintageirvington.blogspot.com/2014/11/living-in-dream-home-1913.html
    Old Post:
    https://www.oldhousedreams.com/2018/04/25/1876-indianapolis-in-2/#section-title

    +2
  11. DianeEGDianeEG says: 575 comments
    OHD Supporter

    1896 Farmhouse W/Swedish roots
    Rural, IL

    Would this be considered a “flip”? One picture shows a large dumpster and much of the interior has also been freshened and professionally staged. I have the “older kitchen stove” and while mine works perfectly, it would be pretty darn difficult to use as the only stove. I particularly love the landscaping and would enjoy seeing in the middle of summer. The large trees and etc give a sense of privacy to an otherwise exposed triangle corner lot. Thank goodness the ivy has been removed. I’m not surprised it’s sold – Indiana homes are selling before they’re listed and for many times over the listed asking price. Here’s hoping the new buyer loves it as much as all of us.

    0
    • HermsHerms says: 9 comments

      Hi Diane – current owner here! This was most decidedly not a flip! My family and I moved here in 2018, fully expecting to live here for many years. However, a very serious medical diagnosis this past fall drastically altered the trajectory of our lives. When it became apparent that we would sell, we finally got around to plaster repair and painting that we had put on hold. Hence the consistency of color in the living rooms and hallways.
      The 1953 Chambers stove was indeed my “daily driver” for cooking for a family of five! It works perfectly and I will miss “Betty”.
      And it took me a minute to figure out the “dumpster” you ever referring to — that’s actually the side of our (dark green) detached garage!!

      +4
      • snarlingsquirrelsnarlingsquirrel says: 283 comments
        OHD Supporter

        1782 Quaker Georgian
        Worton, MD

        Herms, it’s a sad affair when people have to leave the homes they love. My heart sank when you shared that this is the case for your family, and I’m wishing you all the best. Even though we focus on the original fabric of old houses, you’ve clearly worked hard to prepare your house for today’s real estate market in the real world (not just the market of our Old House Dreams). Huge old houses can appear gloomy and “too much” for most buyers, and you’ve achieved what most realtors recommend for a swift, profitable sale (something rare with selling an old house, as we all know on this site). Thanks for your efforts to untangle our tentacles and misunderstandings of things in your own home.

        +5
        • HermsHerms says: 9 comments

          Thank you for your kind words. It can be difficult to handle the speculations of strangers on the web (some of the Facebook comments re this house are WILD), but I have a thick skin and have certainly engaged in speculation myself!
          Fingers crossed for a quick sale over listing price. There have been many showings so far and we will review offers on Saturday at 3pm. Wish us luck!

          +5
  12. Belladog1Belladog1 says: 107 comments
    OHD Supporter

    I like the concept of the porch but not the way it was executed. the towers are just wonderful! The in side is so plain? I would feel the need to add some details to the rooms, fix the stair balustrade, rework the kitchen the stove is too far from the sink I would be doping food (the dogs would enjoy that!) from the sink to the stove. The inside is so neat and clean you would be able to work at a slow pace and not feel the need to rush. I saw a fountain in an old picture is it with this house? It needs a fountain:)

    0
    • HermsHerms says: 9 comments

      Current owner here. The fountain is the centerpiece of the circular park directly across the street from the house. It’s a lovely little park that features a summer concert series, Halloween events, and Luminaria/Christmas/Krampus activities. We will miss having a front seat on the action, but are only moving three blocks down the street!

      +1
      • joyjoy says: 69 comments

        The Irvington Halloween Festival is marvelous! I went to the Spooky Organ Concert at Our Lady of Lourdes and it was wonderful. Irvington is such a neat area. My grandfather and then my dad and his sisters grew up there. I love the history, the neighborhoods, the old houses, and the community.

        What a wonderful house with some great original and added features!

        +1
  13. John ShifletJohn Shiflet says: 5567 comments
    OHD Supporter

    1897 Queen Anne Colonial
    Cadiz, OH

    The first step I took was looking around the neighborhood in Streetview. Happily, this house is surrounded by what appears to be a stable and fairly well kept residential area consisting of mainly single family homes. The house itself appears to be a generation older than many of the surrounding homes which makes me think it was almost on the outskirts of town when the house was constructed and then later the neighborhood grew up around it.

    As others have noted, the house has seen changes. It appears its earliest version was either as an Italianate or Stick style house (the side gable still has a very “Stick” like look to it with all of the elaborate braces.) The towers appear to have been added during the Queen Anne phase although towers can sometimes go back as far as the mid-19th century and that may be the case here. The boxy porch columns have more of an Arts & Crafts/Craftsman feel and likely date to just before WWI.

    In its current appearance, the interior looks like an effort was made to appeal to a broader segment of the house buying public including those who are not necessarily into period decor. In summary, although this house does retain a fair amount of original old details, it would probably fall short of a period purist’s expectations. The ideal buyer would probably be someone younger who appreciates old houses but wants to live in a up to date home with an eclectic decor. The interior reminds me somewhat of the houses Mina and Karen rehab on the Indianapolis based HGTV show, GOOD BONES. Given their impressive sales success record, one could say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

    +4
    • HermsHerms says: 9 comments

      Hi John! Current owner here – you’ve made some great observations.
      The Irvington neighborhood of Indianapolis was the first “planned suburb” of the city and is located five miles due east of downtown. It was founded in the early 1870s and was intended as a scenic, serene alternative to the hustle and bustle of the city. The castle house was built in 1876, architect unknown, for a son of one of the founders of Irvington. The towers are original to the house; the arts and crafts style porch was added in 1913, and the kitchen addition on the rear of the house probably around that time.
      In its 140 year history, the house has been loved by many different families and has experienced many renovations, remodels, and remuddles. The windows, doors, fireplaces and woodwork are likely all original, but that is the extent of it. It is decidedly not a purist’s dream home!
      That said, staging is the norm these days and the stager choose to appeal to a broad demographic, as you noted. There was a preponderance of antiques and a more colorful palette while we lived there!

      +5
      • snarlingsquirrelsnarlingsquirrel says: 283 comments
        OHD Supporter

        1782 Quaker Georgian
        Worton, MD

        Well said Herms. If only most other owners of historic homes had the same knowledge as you have for yours! I responded to your situation in another of your comments above. Thanks

        +4
      • John ShifletJohn Shiflet says: 5567 comments
        OHD Supporter

        1897 Queen Anne Colonial
        Cadiz, OH

        Hi Herms, I sincerely appreciate you taking the time to read and reply to comments. My greatest interest is in learning about the history of old houses and how they got to be what they are today. I especially appreciate the early origins narrative about the neighborhood. I agree that when the goal is to sell trying to appeal to only old house purists can take much longer to reach than marketing to a broader home buyer segment.

        Sorry to read about the health issues (which have also greatly impacted my spouse in recent years) so here’s wishing for a brighter future for you and your loved ones.

        +5
  14. MandyMandy says: 88 comments
    Edmonds, WA

    Love this one. Love those turrets, love that staircase, I can see reading a book in the reading nook and the blue bathroom is fun. And I’ve got to say, I’d love to find a stove like that. Would have liked to see it with the antiques and your choice of colors Emily.

    +2
  15. JonJon says: 120 comments
    TN

    In the highest room…

    In the tallest tower…

    +2
  16. snarlingsquirrelsnarlingsquirrel says: 283 comments
    OHD Supporter

    1782 Quaker Georgian
    Worton, MD

    Herms, I’m delighted to see you’re “Pending” tonight. Congratulations! I wish you and your family all the best.

    0
  17. BarbyBarby says: 54 comments
    1920 Dutch Colonial
    Oneonta, NY

    Oh, that lovely staircase made me squeal with delight. What lovely features this place has. I am so sorry the current owners must move. How difficult that must be.

    0

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