Morris-Butler House
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Morris-Butler House

1204 N. Park Avenue
Indianapolis, IN

Summary of History and Significance

The Morris-Butler House is significant because it is an excellent example of a Second Empire style house and one of the few remaining examples of this style in the city.  It was the home of two prominent Indianapolis citizens, John D. Morris and Noble Chase Butler, and their families. 

The house was designed by Dietrich A. Bohlen (1828-1890) and built by John Clements.  Bohlen was born in Hanover, Germany and settled in Indianapolis in 1852.  After a brief association with Francis Costigan (1810-1865) he opened his own firm in 1853.  In 1884 his son, Oscar, joined the firm which then became known as D.A. Bohlen and Son.  Bohlen and his firm were responsible for the design of some of the major nineteenth century Indianapolis landmarks (City Market, St. John's Catholic Church, Roberts Park United Methodist Church, St. Paul's Lutheran Church and the Pleasant Run Children's Home along with numerous residences and educational buildings in the city and the state).

John D. Morris, son of Morris Morris, was a member of a pioneer Indianapolis family.  He built the house, at a cost of $24,000, only two blocks from his brother, General Thomas A. Morris.  He and his wife, Martha A., had three children.  He was a railroad freight clerk from 1865-1872, vice-president of Capitol City Planning c. 1874, and a member of the firm of Glazier and Morris (1874-78) which dealt in coal, coke and lime.  In 1887 he declared bankruptcy.  

Morris-Butler House