Vote for Preservation in Southern Indiana

Two former 10 Most Endangered sites are vying for funding through USA Today’s community grant competition.

Medora Brick Kilns
The Medora Brick Plant is one of several projects competing for grants in the USA Today Network's “A Community Thrives” program.

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Two southern Indiana preservation projects competing for grants through the USA Today network need your votes. “A Community Thrives” (ACT) will award a total of $600,000 in grants to nine projects nationwide, with finalists determined via online voting through May 12.

In West Baden Springs, a former 10 Most Endangered entry needs funding for badly needed repairs expected to total $200,000. The West Baden Springs First Baptist Church was built in 1909 for African American employees of the Springs Valley’s resorts. The church has been vacant since 1992. The Southeastern District Association of the Indiana Missionary Baptist State Convention, coalition of churches, hopes to win an ACT grant to address the most urgent problems – including a bowing wall, outdated wiring and systems, and an exterior in need of repainting – and reopen the church for services. See the video and vote for this project here.

West Baden Springs First Baptist Church

West Baden Springs First Baptist Church

A newly formed nonprofit group hopes to revive another former 10 Most Endangered site, the Medora Brick Plant in Jackson County. The brick plant closed in 1992 after almost nine decades in business. Since then, vegetation and neglect have overtaken the collection of domed kilns and administrative buildings. The Medora Brick Plant & Historical Sites group hopes the property can become a unique tourism attraction and focus of a community revitalization strategy.

Landscape architecture students from Ball State University created plans to reinvent the property as a park and interpretive center, with the distinctive beehive-shaped kilns as the centerpiece. An Indiana Landmarks grant helped the group pay for structural assessments of the remaining buildings and fine-tune the student plans. Funding through the ACT grant could help make the vision a reality. See the video and vote for this project here.

Voting for the grant projects is open until May 12. Each person can vote one time per day. Ten projects that garner the most support in each category — wellness, arts and culture, and education — will be named finalists. A panel of judges will then award two $50,000 grants and one $100,000 grant in each category. For more information, visit

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