Circus Trip 2018: Oldfields (Lilly House)

Day 25, Thursday, August 9, 2018

Indianapolis, Indiana

Oldfields was built between 1909 and 1913 on what was then the country outside of Indianapolis.

Oldfields is representative of the Country Place Era that was prevalent between 1885 and 1939; a reaction to increasing industrialization and urbanization around the United States during that time period.  It was built in the French Chateau style of an old country estate, providing the family an escape to the country when life in the city had a tendency to be dirty and stifling, especially in the summer.  While it was originally designed and built for the Hugh McKennan Landon family by his brother-in-law, architect Lewis Ketcham Davis, the 26 acre estate was purchased by Josiah K. Lilly, Jr. in 1932.

After the Lilly family donated Oldfields to the Art Association of Indianapolis they used Oldfields as exhibit space for several years, before putting the home on display as a historic house.  The first floor has eight rooms decorated in the 1930s country house style, and there are a few exhibits upstairs.  Your admission to Newfields includes a self-guided tour of the Oldfields Mansion.  It is beautiful and worth seeing!  I enjoyed wandering from room to room, checking out the period furnishing and the 1930s styling of the home.  Again, though, the whimsical plastic elephants were not really my taste.

If you are at Newfields, be sure to check this home out!

Note: Newfields refers to Oldfields as Lilly House and Gardens, but I am choosing to call it by its original given name.  I’m wild like that.


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