Butler-Tarkington Homes, History, Facts & Photos

The Butler-Tarkington area of Indianapolis is one of the more sought-after places in which to own a home, with its historic architectural styles, strong home prices and rich community life. It is also one of the more historic neighborhoods in the city, with a history dating back to the mid-to-late 19th century.

Map of Butler-Tarkington AreaMap of Butler Tarkington Area of Indianapolis

Butler-Tarkington History

It is also one of the more historic neighborhoods in the city, with a history dating back to the mid-to-late 19th century. Its name was inspired by both Butler University and the famous American novelist Booth Tarkington, who lived at 4270 North Meridian Street from 1923 to 1946.

plaque-at-gate-of-booth-tarkington-houseA Metal Plaque at the Gate of the Booth Tarkington House

Butler University moved from the Irvington area of the city in 1922, when it purchased the land formerly occupied by Fairview Park. This sparked a surge in development, as custom homes began to spring up along Meridian Street and 38th Street, proceeding north and north and west from there.

photo-of-booth-tarkington-houseStreet View of the Booth Tarkington House

In general, the more affluent homes are situated off Meridian Street. Owning a home in the Butler-Tarkington was considered a symbol of having “arrived.”

Butler-Tarkington Homes

Two defining characteristics of homes in this area have always been their size and quality of construction. Historically, they were all built as custom homes, as was the norm for many decades in the U.S., before the advent of “tract homes.” By today’s standards, they would be considered to be of a significantly quality of construction.

home-on-meridian-street-indianapolisPhoto of a Butler-Tarkington Home as Seen from Meridian Street

It’s common to find larger homes toward the east, particularly right off Meridian.  These grand homes feature exteriors clad in brick, stone and other masonry features. On the inside, expertly crafted wood features, including crown molding, hardwood floors and built-in bookcases are common.

house-on-meridian-street-indianapolisPhoto of Home Located in Butler-Tarkington, Situated off Meridian Street

One drive through the Butler-Tarkington area and the pride of ownership becomes apparent. Homes are well-maintained and the neighborhood is quite and calm.

home-on-illinois-street-indianapolisA Home Located off Illinois Street in the Butler-Tarkington Area

The progression westward from Meridian is marked by a gradual decrease in size and grandeur of the homes. The home featured in the above photo is located off Illinois Street.

home-on-capitol-ave-indianapolisA Home Situated off Capitol Avenue in the Butler-Tarkington Area

As times have changed, many of these homes have undergone various upgrades, such as open floor plans, kitchen remodels, new appliances, etc. As development moves west from Meridian Street there is an increasing likelihood of finding rental housing, primarily due to the sizeable student population.

The real estate market in this area has always been, and continues to be, quite strong. Butler-Tarkington homes for sale don’t tend to stay on the market long.

Butler-Tarkington Community

While Butler-Tarkington is mainly a residential area, there are other cultural aspects that add to the character of the community, such as its many churches, business establishments and educational institutions. The presence of Butler University provides a solid anchor to the community. Demographically, Butler-Tarkington is mostly upper-middle-class, with wealthier households being found along Meridian Street and also sections of Illinois Street.

Schools in the Butler-Tarkington Area

There are several notable schools located in the Butler-Tarkington area, the most prominent of which is Butler University. From its humble beginnings it has grown into one of the most respected universities in the Midwest, and now offers over 60 major academic fields of study.

butler-universityPhoto of the Atherton Union Building on the Butler University Campus

The Butler’s College of Business is ranked 48th in the Bloomberg BusinessWeek ranking of the best U.S. undergraduate business programs for 2012. It is also very well known for its College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences.

international-school-of-indianaPhoto of the International School of Indiana

The The International School of Indiana is another school located in the Butler-Tarkington area. It is an independent school designed to prepare local students for the increasingly global economy. It is situated on 60 wooded acres north of the Indianapolis Museum of Art.

Nearby Attractions

baby-dinosaur-enters-indianapolis-childrens-museumPhoto of the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis

The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis owns the unique distinction of being the world’s largest children’s museum. It is an impressive 5-story facility that boasts close to a 1/2 million square feet and houses approximately 120,000 artifacts and exhibit items.

indianapolis-museum-of-artPhoto of the Indianapolis Museum of Art

The Indianapolis Museum of Art, also known simply as “the IMA,” underwent a massive, $74 million expansion in 2005. It is located northwest of Crown Hill Cemetery, on a 152-acre campus. It is the 9th oldest art museum in the United States.

street-scene-at-56th-street-and-illinoisStreet Scene at 56th Street and Illinois Street

There is a good mix of businesses within convenient walking distance. The above photo shows a view of businesses located at the intersection of 56th Street and Illinois Street, which represents the upper boundary of what is considered the Butler-Tarkington area.

safeway-foods-56th-and-illinois-indianapolisThe above photo shows Safeway Foods, which is the community grocery store. It is located just north of the intersection of 56th Street and Illinois in the Butler-Tarkington community.