A Room with a View – James Whitcomb Riley Tomb (amended)

Written by on April 2, 2013 in A Room with a View - 10 Comments
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View of downtown from the tomb of James Whitcomb Riley

View of downtown from the tomb of James Whitcomb Riley – Photo by Ryan Hamlett

Not a Room with a View this week, but rather a Tomb with a View. That of Hoosier poet and longtime Lockerbie Square resident, James Whitcomb Riley keeps watch over Indianapolis from atop the highest natural point within the pre-UniGov city limits, the “Crown Hill” of Crown Hill Cemetery, on the city’s near northwest side.

What do you love about this solemn spot?

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About the Author

Ryan Hamlett, a Fine Arts graduate of Indiana University, turned a teenage fascination with exploring "haunted places" into a love of Urban Exploration or sneaking (not breaking) into abandoned buildings, armed with a camera and flashlight. That passion for photographing urban decay has led him to the Historic Preservation Graduate Program at Ball State University which he'll begin this fall.

10 Comments on "A Room with a View – James Whitcomb Riley Tomb (amended)"

  1. Kevin April 2, 2013 at 12:18 pm · Reply

    Thanks to Unigov, the highest point in Indianapolis is in northwestern Pike Township, not Crown Hill as it so widely publicized.

  2. Janie Hensley April 2, 2013 at 12:37 pm · Reply

    What I love most about Riley’s tomb is the story that goes with it. It’s there because children banded together to raise the money for it. Money is still left at his tomb, and that money is given to Riley Children’s Hospital. But the view of downtown from there is fantastic.

  3. basil berchekas jr April 2, 2013 at 1:19 pm · Reply

    A beautiful view. Have been “up there” to view the city’s skyline.

  4. Norm Morford April 2, 2013 at 1:58 pm · Reply

    Highest point of natural land in Marion County?

    Good place to read “Lil Orphan Annie” by Riley to kids — esp. in good weather.

  5. Tom Davis April 2, 2013 at 4:00 pm · Reply

    Crown Hill rises to 842.6 feet above sea level. As Kevin mentions, there are places in NW Pike Township that get to about 912 feet above sea level. So while it is the highest point in the pre-UniGov Indianapolis City limits, it is NOT the highest point in Marion County.

  6. Laura Bade Limbach April 3, 2013 at 9:11 am · Reply

    I love the statue of the child sitting and reading at Riley’s gravesite. I love to wander through cemeteries in general. The gravestones from “back in the day” are so beautiful and I love to read the dates and inscriptions.

  7. Tom Davis April 3, 2013 at 2:35 pm · Reply

    See the latest issue of Indianapolis Monthly for a discussion of Riley’s monument and the money that is left there. http://indianapolismonthly.com/hoosierist/story.aspx?ID=1926537

  8. Janie Hensley April 3, 2013 at 4:17 pm · Reply

    When I was in Indy a year ago, we went up to Riley’s tomb and took some great pictures, but while we were there we also saw 2 deer wandering around. I live in Tennessee now, and it’s not unusual here, but surprised me to find deer that far into town.

  9. mike April 5, 2013 at 7:49 am · Reply

    While they were growing up, I pointed out to my daughters several times, that despite its faults they should always remember that Indianapolis was a city that buried a poet at the highest point in the cemetery. Not a president, banker, industrialist, etc., but a poet.

  10. Sergio October 1, 2014 at 2:14 am · Reply

    For anyone interested in seeing what it’s like to stand at this beautiful spot in our city, I took the liberty of photographing a 360-degree experience and putting it on Google Maps. Such an inspiring view here. I will go back and check it out at peak foliage this fall for sure. I bet the place is on fire with color!

    https://www.google.com/maps/views/view/108862144336967515203/gphoto/6043753417955948914

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