What Lies Beneath
Residents of Wolcottville regularly told us about the “Indian Mound” in front of the Wolcott House, a nineteenth-century Greek Revival style home Indiana Landmarks acquired last year. Sometimes such stories are more myth than reality, and we figured the mound was most likely an old tree stump. But professional curiosity led us to friends at Ball State’s Department of Anthropology for an expert opinion on the story’s veracity.
It’s a good thing we asked. Last month three students from the Applied Anthropology Laboratory at Ball State, led by Dr. Kevin C. Nolan, spent a day investigating the little mound in the front yard using ground-penetrating radar. The team’s verdict is that it’s highly likely the mound was a ceremonial location for pre-historic people more than 1,000 years ago. In fact, the mound appears to have been used by people in several different eras for ceremonial purposes. Its location on an elevated spot overlooking the Little Elkhart Creek lends credence to the finding. In honor of its newly discovered provenance, the site has been named Wolcott Mound.
Built around 1840 by the founder of Wolcottville, the Greek Revival house is a much more recent addition to the site. When an unpaid bank note and unsettled estate left the home deteriorating in legal limbo, Tim Hudson – George Wolcott’s great-great-great grandson – and local history buff Rex Fisher enlisted the help of the LaGrange County Community Foundation and Indiana Landmarks to save the place.
The men launched a fundraising campaign to pay off the bank note. The bank then sold the property to the community foundation, and the foundation donated it to Indiana Landmarks. With the house secure in our hands, we moved quickly to get a new roof on the place and make other repairs while we hunt for a buyer who will finish the work.
In the meantime, we’re thankful for help from La Grange Boy Scout Troop 792 and their leader Tony Kuehner. On a cold November day the boys and their parents tackled the herculean task of cleaning out mountains of trash and personal belongings left in the house. Their work saved us thousands of dollars in labor cost.
The house and its pre-historic mound are a one-of-a-kind opportunity for the right buyer. For more details, contact Todd Zeiger in our Northern Regional Office, 574-232-4534, firstname.lastname@example.org.
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