LIFE'S BETTER IN THE MOUNTAINS

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Oldenfields, the Lilly House

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.





I was amazed at how many leaves lingered on the trees. This photograph was taken November 15.

12 comments:

Cheryl said...

What a beautiful place and lovely story. The trees are stunning and holding their leaves so late......there may not be many photographs but the three you have uploaded tell a story by themselves......

Lynne said...

This is a neat story. Thanks for sharing it with us.

Toni said...

Beautiful pictures and gorgeous estate. Anybody who leaves something to the Arts is ok by me. :)

Robert V. Sobczak said...

I love touring through those types of estates, it's like a walk back through time, and more than any book, makes you think about how they lived and what the world was like back then.

George said...

Thanks for the tour and the history. Have you been to Biltmore when it is decorated for Christmas? It, too, is beautiful.

Tina said...

It's always so interesting to tour places of the past and hear the stories of other's lives be it good or bad..it makes one appreciate the world we live in now..even tho, at times, we feel our current situation is so difficult..
enjoyed the photos..:)

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Looks like a beautiful place, Carolyn. You captured some great pictures. Love the big Christmas tree! Thanks!

Jayne said...

What a beautiful place Carolyn.

Cedar ... said...

Ooohhhh, that is a lovely place. Even in the rain it's beauty is there. I like the pic of the Christmas tree,...

The Birdlady said...

As I get ready to clean my house before the onslaught tomorrow, I have to think I would hate to face cleaning that one! But it is really lovely. (John always says I should wait to clean after everyone leaves!)

Shellmo said...

The grounds and the house are beautiful! Thank you for sharing!

NCmountainwoman said...

Cheryl - I, too, was surprised at the leaves.

Lynne - Thanks

Toni - The Lillys have always been very philanthropic, especially in the world of art.

Robert - So do I, although I suspect that none of my family ever afforded such a wonderful place.

George - Oh, yes. We go the the Biltmore House every Christmas. I try not to think about it when we go other places, because they all pale in comparison.

Tina - Thanks. It does us good to reflect on history, the rich as well as the poor.

Betsy - Yes, it was lovely.

Jayne - It was very interesting.

Cedar - Yes, the rain added a nice effect.

Helen - I do exactly the same thing, even to the hardwood floors. My husband agrees with yours.

Shelley - Thanks