History Doesn’t Sell: Kurt Vonnegut Home Drops Price

Why isn’t this livable landmark moving?

Butler-Tarkington should really be called Butler-Tarkington-Vonnegut. Author Kurt Vonnegut Jr. spent his earliest years in a house at 44th and Illinois streets. Kurt Vonnegut Sr., an architect, designed the Arts and Crafts beauty in 1922, and the family lived there while Kurt Jr. was young. Later, its bones and beauty attracted the city’s most prominent architect, Evans Woollen, to buy it and raise his family there. A couple more owners later, and the house is still in great shape, with original details like a stained-glass window with the initials “KV” and Rookwood tile in the dining room. But somewhere along the line, the floor plan got a little wonky by today’s standards. There are two bedrooms on the second level and two on the third, and one of the second-floor bedrooms features a door that goes nowhere good. If you stepped through it, you’d fall to the great room below. One of the previous occupants opened up the great room to the second floor but left that door from a bedroom. If you can get past that oddity, the great room really lives up to its name with a soaring ceiling, mahogany paneling, and bay window.

Despite the deep wooded lot and perfectly livable condition, the bedroom situation and a (not terribly) outdated kitchen tend to disappoint prospective buyers, according to Realtor Kyle Williams with Century 21 Scheetz. Though the four-bedroom 1924 house next door recently sold for a little over $700,000, the price on the Vonnegut place has been lowered from $899,000 two years ago, according to the Indianapolis Star, to $674,900, after a price cut earlier this year. And so it goes.

Want to Buy It?

Address: 4401 N. Illinois St.

List price: $674,000

Agent: Kyle Williams, Century 21 Scheetz, 317-705-2500