top of page
  • Writer's pictureRobert Schuerger II

Oldfields–Lilly House & Gardens: A Glimpse into Historic Elegance

Indianapolis, Indiana, is a city rich in cultural and historical treasures, and Oldfields–Lilly House & Gardens is a shining gem among them. Situated on the grounds of the Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields, this historic estate offers visitors a captivating journey back in time. In this article, we will explore the history, significance, and enchanting beauty of Oldfields–Lilly House & Gardens. Visit this link for more information.

The History of Oldfields

Oldfields is a testament to the elegance of the early 20th century. The estate was originally built in 1913 as the home of Hugh McKennan Landon, a successful businessman. Designed by the renowned architectural firm Delano & Aldrich, the mansion is a prime example of the Country Place Era, characterized by the harmonious integration of architecture, landscape, and gardens. The estate's unique design and aesthetic make it a historical and architectural treasure. Read about Exploring the Beauty and Recreation of Holiday Park in Indianapolis, IN here.

The Lilly Connection

In 1932, the Lilly family, known for their pharmaceutical company, purchased Oldfields. Eli Lilly, a prominent figure in the pharmaceutical industry, donated the property to the Art Association of Indianapolis in 1967. This marked the beginning of Oldfields' transformation into the beautiful estate it is today. The house was opened to the public as the Lilly House Museum, while the surrounding gardens underwent extensive restoration.

Gardens of Tranquility and Beauty

The gardens of Oldfields–Lilly House & Gardens are a serene oasis in the heart of Indianapolis. Designed by the renowned landscape architect Percival Gallagher, the gardens blend various styles, including Italian, French, and English influences. Visitors can wander through well-manicured paths, vibrant flowerbeds, and tranquil water features, providing an escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life.

The Sunken Garden

One of the most iconic features of the gardens is the Sunken Garden. This beautifully landscaped area features terraces, fountains, and geometric flowerbeds. It is a popular spot for visitors to enjoy the peaceful ambiance and take in the striking visual harmony of the garden.

The Knot Garden

The Knot Garden at Oldfields is a masterpiece of precision and design. This formal garden showcases intricate geometric patterns from low hedges and vibrant plantings. The Knot Garden is a testament to the artistic vision and attention to detail that went into the landscape design.

The Quarry Garden

The Quarry Garden provides a unique setting for a more naturalistic and contemplative experience. This garden features a reclaimed stone quarry transformed into a picturesque, reflective space with a pool, waterfall, and meandering paths. It's a favorite destination for visitors seeking a peaceful moment of serenity.

The Walled Garden

The Walled Garden is a delightful enclosed space with vibrant flowerbeds, an elegant pergola, and a tranquil pool. It's an inviting area for strolls and appreciation of the carefully curated plantings and design.

The Lilly House Museum

The Lilly House itself is a marvel of historic preservation. Visitors can explore the beautifully furnished rooms, which provide a glimpse into the opulent lifestyle of the early 20th century. The mansion features an impressive collection of American fine and decorative art, showcasing the tastes and aesthetics of the time.

Cultural Events and Exhibitions

Oldfields–Lilly House & Gardens is not just a historic estate; it's also a cultural hub. The estate hosts various events, exhibitions, and educational programs annually. From art exhibitions to garden tours, something captivating always happens at Oldfields.


Oldfields–Lilly House & Gardens in Indianapolis, IN, is a remarkable destination that combines the grandeur of the past with the beauty of meticulously maintained gardens. It allows visitors to step back in time and experience the elegance of the early 20th century. Whether interested in history, architecture or simply seeking a tranquil escape, Oldfields–Lilly House & Gardens is a must-visit attraction that captivates the senses and offers a window into a bygone era of splendor and refinement.


bottom of page