What’s in a Name: Benton House

Written by on February 17, 2014 in What’s in a Name? - No comments
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Benton House                                              
Location:  312 S. Downey Ave., Irvington
Allen Benton, president, Northwest Christian University (now Butler University)

Benton House, an iconic landmark in the Irvington neighborhood built in 1873, is named for Allen Benton who was president of Northwest Christian University (now Butler University) when the university was in the eastside neighborhood.

Born in in 1822 in Cuyahoga County, New York, Benton graduated from Bethany College in 1847.  He then moved to Rush County, Indiana the following year, where he started a classical school that he ran until 1854.  He left the school to study at the University of Rochester in New York before taking a job as a professor of ancient languages at Northwest Christian University in 1855.  He became president of the university in 1861 and served until 1868 when he resigned in protest over the low salaries for faculty members.
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From there, Benton went to Alliance College in Ohio where he was a Latin professor and later the college’s president.  He then moved west to join the staff of the new University of Nebraska, and served as the college’s first chancellor.  In 1876, he returned to Northwest Christian as a philosophy professor and then resumed the presidency from 1886 to 1891.  He died in 1914.  He was married to Silence Howard Benton, who was active in the Disciples of Christ and wrote devotional literature from her home.
Photos courtesy of Ryan Hamlett.
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About the Author

Steve Campbell is the former Deputy Mayor of Indiianapolis, owns a communications strategy consulting firm, and teaches journalism and mass communications at the IUPUI School of Journalism.

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