Convenient and Beautiful: The Architecture of Louis H. Gibson

Deedee Davis, visual resources specialist for the Herron Art Library, presents an illustrated talk on the work of prolific Indianapolis author and architect, Louis H. Gibson.

Woodruff Place, Indianapolis.

March 22, 2018

6 p.m.
Cook Theater, Indiana Landmarks Center

Indiana Landmarks invites you to hear Deedee Davis’s illustrated lecture on the architecture of architect Louis H. Gibson.

Davis, visual resources specialist for the Herron Art Library, explains how researching her own home in the Herron-Morton Place Historic District led her to find out more about the work of a prolific but locally little-known Indianapolis author and architect.

After earning a degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and taking courses at the Ecole de Beaux-Arts in Paris, Gibson practiced architecture in Indiana from the 1880s until his death at 53 in 1907. His work included collaborations on designs for state mental hospitals in Logansport, Richmond, and Evansville, and Lindley Hall on IU’s Bloomington campus, but his passion was residential architecture.

Among his many books and articles, Gibson created two house plan books issued by national publishers in 1889 and 1895 with subsequent editions for each. In his first book, Convenient Houses, Gibson provided 50 plans for houses that included the latest modern conveniences such as central heating, indoor plumbing, and contemporary kitchens. A few years later, in Beautiful Houses, he declared “that there is no good reason for ugliness, that it costs no more to make an artistic detail than to make an ugly one.” You can find original editions of Beautiful Houses listed on eBay for $125.

Approximately 30 Gibson houses have been identified throughout Indiana including several in the Herron-Morton Place and Old Northside historic districts in Indianapolis.

Doors open with a cash bar at 5:30 p.m., followed by Davis’s talk and Q&A, 6 to 7:00 p.m.

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