On our recent visit to Indianapolis, we toured Oldenfields, the home of the late Josiah K. Lilly Jr. and his wife Ruth Brinkmeyer Lilly. J.K. Lilly was the grandson of the more famous Eli Lilly, founder of the pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly and Company. The 26-acre estate and home are now considered a National Historic Landmark.
The Lillys owned several houses, but always considered Oldenfields as their primary residence. The house is spacious and very typical of the country estates owned by the affluent in the early part of the 1900s.
Despite the late fall weather, the grounds were beautiful. The landscaping was done by members of the famous Olmstead Brothers architectural firm. [The Olmstead firm did the landscaping for the White House grounds, New York's Central Park, The Biltmore House, and many other famous sites.]
At the time of our visit, the house was decorated for the Christmas holidays, all in keeping with the era. It was a very nice tour.
Ruth Lilly died in 1965 and J.K. the following year. Upon their deaths, their children gave the estate to the Art Association of Indianapolis. In 1970, the Indianapolis Museum of Art was opened on the Oldenfields grounds.
Because it was pouring rain during most of our visit, the outdoor photographs are limited and were taken from the car. Despite the weather, it was an interesting tour.