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About the Wylie House

Front view of Wylie House

Built in 1835, Wylie House was the home of Indiana University's first president, Andrew Wylie, and his family. Today Wylie House is owned and operated by Indiana University as an historic house museum recreating the Wylie home prior to 1860.

The house is distinctive and unusual for south-central Indiana, a blend of Federal and Georgian styles of architecture more characteristic of southwest Pennsylvania, where Wylie was born and raised. It is one of the few pre-1840 structures remaining in Bloomington.

Back view of Wylie House

Wylie House contains an outstanding collection of early to mid-19th century American furnishings, including many Wylie family artifacts. A large collection of Wylie family letters and personal papers are housed in University Archives.

The mission of the museum is to preserve and study the house, artifacts and documents and through them to interpret for the public our local history and domestic heritage as it is embodied by the early Wylie home.

Wylie House Restoration Projects

A major restoration of Wylie House took place in the early 1960s that concentrated on the structure of the house. Between 2001 and 2010 we worked to complete the interior decoration of the museum in order to give visitors a more accurate impression of early 19th century life in south-central Indiana. The walls were all painted using period appropriate colors and techniques; 19th century style window dressings were added; antique furniture, some that originally belonged to the Wylies, was restored and/or reupholstered and added to the house; the exterior trim of the house was painted and so on. Below are a few photos of some of these improvements.

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1960s Restoration

When Rebecca Wylie died in 1913, her three remaining children decided to sell the house. Theodorus, or Dory, was by that time a widower and no longer lived in Bloomington. Margaret, or Maggie, was a widow living in Pittsburgh, Kansas near one of her sons. Louisa, who had lived with her parents since 1884 when she was widowed, wanted to move to Arlington, Massachusetts to be near her daughter and grandchildren.

In 1915, Dr. Amos S. Hershey, a professor of political science at IU bought the house from the heirs. He and his wife, Lillian, made the first significant changes to the house as far as we know. Besides modernizing the kitchen and bath room and putting in a furnace, they enclosed the second storey porch, making it into a sunroom and they removed the ground floor pantry and screened it and the ground floor front porch. They also added a pedimented awning with brackets over the front door and a small slanted roof over the east door into the kitchen.

In 1947, the widow Mrs. Hershey sold the house to IU. The trustees agreed to let her live in the house another 4 years, until 1951. From 1951 until 1959, IU Press was housed in the home. Then, starting in 1961, IU undertook a complete restoration of the house. The intent was to restore the house to its original configuration when it was built in 1836. The photographs in this digital exhibit document what the house looked like just prior to that restoration and the process of restoration.

Hover over a thumbnail to view a larger image. Left- or right-click to open or save.

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Other Projects

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Last Update 11.16.2010 (JR) | Send Comments to | Libraries Privacy Policy