The Wabash County Commission recently gave Indiana Landmarks a building in downtown Wabash that had been marked for demolition. The historic Wabash Sheriff’s House and Jail, built around 1880 and replaced by a new jail in 1979, has been vacant and deteriorating since 2004.
Indiana Landmarks included the building on its 10 Most Endangered list in 2014 and paid for temporary roof repairs. The nonprofit preservation organization hired SRKM Architecture of Warsaw to assess the structure at 31 West Main Street, across from the Wabash County Courthouse.
After Indiana Landmarks and the Wabash County Commissioners spent a year searching without success for a new owner for the structure, the commissioners once again considered demolition. This month, the commission instead agreed to give the building to Indiana Landmarks with the $75,000 it would have spent on demolition. Indiana Landmarks will match the $75,000 and this summer will put a new roof on the building, restore the masonry, overhangs, and windows, paint trim, and install a handicap ramp.
“The porch added in the 1930s doesn’t suit the elegant Italianate building, so we’ll replace it with one in keeping with the original architecture,” says Paul Hayden, director of Indiana Landmarks’ northeast field office. “Inside, we’ll clear debris and remove modern paneling and dropped ceilings,” he adds.
A once common building type in Indiana at the close of the 19th century, the structure combined a red-brick residence of Italianate design facing the Wabash County Courthouse with a more utilitarian cell block made of Indiana limestone attached at the rear. B.V. Enos & Son of Fort Wayne designed the jail as well as the old City Hall and the county courthouse to the north to create a campus-like collection of civic structures.
“Downtown Wabash is on a revitalization roll,” notes Parker Beauchamp, president of INGUARD, an insurance company based in Wabash, and vice chairman of Indiana Landmarks’ board. “We have many restored downtown buildings and a large commercial building undergoing conversion to loft-style apartments. When Indiana Landmarks improves the sheriff’s house and jail, we think we’ll be able to find a buyer who’ll use it for a professional office, restaurant or brew pub.”
For more information on the project, contact Paul Hayden at Indiana Landmarks, firstname.lastname@example.org or 260-563-7094.
Media contacts: Tina Connor, Indiana Landmarks Executive Vice President, 317-639-4534, email@example.com Paul Hayden, Director, Northeast Field Office, Indiana Landmarks, firstname.lastname@example.org or 260-563-7094
Indiana Landmarks revitalizes communities, reconnects us to our heritage, and saves meaningful places. With nine offices located throughout the state, Indiana Landmarks helps people rescue endangered landmarks and restore historic neighborhoods and downtowns. People who join Indiana Landmarks receive its bimonthly magazine, Indiana Preservation. For more information on the not-for-profit organization, call 317-639-4534, 800-450-4534, or visit www.indianalandmarks.org.
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