Jump to navigation Jump to search For author’s childhood home, having same National Register name, see Riley Birthplace and Museum. James Whitcomb Riley House in Indianapolis, front and western side. Nickum, had the building apartments in indianapolis near broad ripple in 1872. Nickum had the money to build the house as he had supplied the Union Army in Indianapolis with hardtack, a form of cracker despised by soldiers, during the Civil War.
After Riley and the Holsteins died, William Fortune bought it in 1916. He would later, presumably at the behest of Booth Tarkington, transfer ownership to the James Whitcomb Riley Memorial Association five years later. Due to Riley’s fame, it is the best known of the domiciles in the Lockerbie Square Historic District. The Riley Children’s Foundation operates the museum. Noted items are the wicker chair which he frequently used after his stroke in 1911, and the bed on which he died on July 22, 1916. The structure is a two-story brick house on a stone foundation and full basement that is considered an excellent example of Italianate architecture typical of the neighborhood’s homes built in the 1860s and 1870s.