Endangered Sites Pose Preservation Challenge

Indiana Landmarks’ 2018 list of the state’s 10 Most Endangered places includes two sites in the southern region. The two pose very different preservation challenges for important aspects of of our shared heritage.

Cravenhurst Barn, Madison
Cravenhurst Barn, Madison

Worth Fighting For

In Madison, a community well known for its historic buildings, the Cravenhurst Barn stands out for its for grand scale and fine building materials. Built around 1906 to serve the estate of state Senator Joseph Cravens, the barn boasts a slate roof with a monitor, and a rusticated limestone lower level with arched openings. The Loyal Order of Moose acquired the property in the 1940s and uses the house as its lodge. The group does not have a specific use for the barn, though, and few resources to maintain it, a perilous situation that earned the barn a spot on our 10 Most Endangered list.

After years of neglect, the barn is now in dire need of repairs to roof, siding and masonry, as well as structural repairs in a collapsing rear corner. In the long term, the Cravenhurst Barn needs a new use to ensure long-term survival. Local champions hope to use the barn as the centerpiece of a youth program where students would learn about preservation and gain hands-on experience working on  securing the barn from the elements.

Across the state in Perry County, the historic district that encompasses much of the town of Cannelton also made the 10 Most list. This small Ohio River community boasts an outstanding collection of historic buildings — many constructed of locally-quarried sandstone — and the massive and maginificent 1851 Indiana Cotton Mill, rehabbed as apartments, dominates the skyline.

Cannelton Cotton Mill

Cannelton Cotton Mill (photo: Lee Lewellen)

Unlike the mill, many of the other buildings suffer vacancy and deterioration. Frustrated with the blight, city leaders have contemplated demolishing several buildings and are in litigation with one property owner who neglects several prominent buildings. Lack of financial resources and a need to build community consensus on the future of the town contribute to the Cannelton’s endangered status. Later this summer, staff from Indiana Landmarks’ southern office plan to convene a conversation with community stakeholders to kick off the visioning process. You can read more about Cannelton’s 10 Most Endangered listing at

Cannelton downtown

Several building in Cannelton’s historic downtown stand vacant and neglected.

To learn more about our work to save the Cravenhurst Barn and downtown Cannelton, contact the Southern Regional Office at 812-284-4534,

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