Summary of History and Significance
Irvington is a historic suburb located on the western edge of Warren Township, approximately five miles east of downtown Indianapolis. It is primarily a residential neighborhood that is bisected by Washington Street, a major east-west traffic thoroughfare.
Irvington was originally platted as an independent suburban town in 1870 but was annexed into the City of Indianapolis in 1902. The original plat of Irvington deviated from Indianapolis' typical grid layout, and instead included a winding, picturesque street pattern that reflected the ideals of the Romantic landscape design era. Irvington today has more lineal blocks of brick streets than any neighborhood in the city, and its naturalistic plan is considered Indianapolis' largest and most developed example of Victorian Romantic landscape design.
Irvington is both architecturally and culturally significant to Indianapolis – Marion County. The area contains excellent examples of every major American architectural style from 1870-1950, including Italianate, French Second Empire, Victorian Gothic, Queen Anne, Colonial Revival and Tudor Revival. However, Irvington is perhaps best known for its fine collection of Arts & Crafts architecture, including the only known example of a Gustav Stickley designed house in Indiana.
The educational and cultural significance of Irvington is perhaps just as remarkable as its architecture. In 1873, the area was selected as the new location for Northwestern Christian University, later renamed Butler University. From 1875-1928, Butler developed a campus in Irvington, which subsequently promoted a college town atmosphere throughout the community. Although most of the campus buildings are gone, except the Bona Thompson Memorial Library, the intellectual spirit is still reflected in Irvington's many association and groups.
Irvington was also the birthplace and home to the only historic art movement in Central Indiana named for a specific place, the Irvington Group. In the early 1900's, this group of artists lived, met, practiced and exhibited art in Irvington, and today many of their homes and studios remain standing throughout the community.
Irvington Historic Area Preservation Plan
The following documents are various sections from the Irvington Historic Area Preservation Plan. The new plan has been approved by the IHPC and adopted by the Metropolitan Development Commission.
The historic area boundaries are primarily based on the Irvington National Register Historic District boundaries. The boundaries represent the original plat of Irvington and the greatest extent of the incorporated town that retains continuity.
The district is roughly bounded by Pleasant Run Parkway, South Drive on the north; the northern edge of the B & O Railroad right-of-way, except Rawles Terrace between Audubon Road and Ritter Avenue, on the south; the west curbline of Arlington Avenue on the east; and the western lot line of 5330 Ohmer Avenue, to the west curbline of Ohmer Avenue, to the east curbline of Butler Avenue, to the north side of the Conrail right-of-way, and to the east curbline of Emerson Avenue on the west.
Historic Irvington Community Council
Brian Mack, President
P.O. Box 19721
Indianapolis, IN 46219
(317) 713-1100 - phone
The Irvington Zoning and Land Use Committee Information Sheet (tips on when they meet, contact information, recommended documentation to bring to meetings, etc.)
Note: The Historic Irvington Community Council meets the third Tuesday of every month (except December) in the basement of the Irvington Presbyterian Church. Meetings begin at 7:00 p.m. and are open to the public.