528 Lockerbie St.

One of the only preservations of a 19th-century residence in the entire country, this National Historic Landmark offers visitors a chance to step through the front door and back in time. Built in 1872, the Italianate style Home features original Victorian art and furnishings, as well as many artifacts that belonged to the “Hoosier Poet,” James Whitcomb Riley.

James Whitcomb Riley never owned the home at 528 Lockerbie, but he moved to the home in 1893 at the peak of his career. He lived there with the Nickum and Holstein families.

EVENTS AT THE BILLIE LOU WOOD VISITOR CENTER

The James Whitcomb Riley Museum Home added the Billie Lou Wood Visitor Center to its beautiful grounds in 2014. Featuring one of the only large green spaces near downtown, the site is the perfect venue for indoor or outdoor weddings, celebrations, or corporate events. The Lockerbie Square historic neighborhood offers a quiet and picturesque setting just a short walk from both downtown and the Mass Ave Cultural District. Plan your next event with us or check out one of the many public events the Home hosts throughout the year.

THE HOOSIER POET

James Whitcomb Riley became a national celebrity through his poetry about Indiana, nature, and childhood. He joined the lecture circuit and recited his poetry in major theaters across the country. He introduced the rest of America to what it meant to be from Indiana, earning him the nickname “The Hoosier Poet.” At the peak of his career in 1893, his friends, the Nickums and Holsteins, invited him to share their home at 528 Lockerbie Street. He lived here for the next 23 years of his life until his death on July 22, 1916.

A POET’S LEGACY

After his death in 1916, Riley’s friends formed the Riley Memorial Association with the desire to memorialize and celebrate the life of their favorite poet. First, they preserved the Museum Home, which opened to the public in 1922. Next, they decided to address the glaring need in the Indianapolis community for a children’s hospital. Using Riley’s reputation as a children’s poet, they raised support and funds for The James Whitcomb Riley Memorial Hospital Children, which opened in 1924. The group formed to honor their friend James Whitcomb Riley became Riley Children’s Foundation, and the hospital developed into one of the premier children’s research hospitals in the world. The Foundation has supported the hospital for over 100 years, and continues to operate this Museum Home and fund Camp Riley – a camp for children with physical disabilities near Martinsville, IN.