Tiny Building Finds its Forever Home in Cambridge City

When serial restorers Jill and Jim King saved, moved, and restored a tiny 1872 doctor’s office, they filled a vacancy in Cambridge City’s historic downtown and added to their already impressive preservation track record.

Jilly's Gift Shop, Cambridge City

On the Road

When Jilly’s Gift and Garden store opened in downtown Cambridge City earlier this month, it marked the end of a journey for the small building — one that began 146 years ago and 150 miles away. And it signaled yet another preservation success for serial restorers Jill and Jim King.

For years, Dr. Elihu Parker Washburn practiced medicine from a tiny c.1872 office in Buffalo, a small community east of Monon in White County. After his death, the building captured the attention of building collector Bill Parrish, who moved the little office to his farm near Idaville.

“When he got into his nineties and could no longer care for his buildings, he decided to have an auction of the buildings and contents. Jim and I heard about the site from my parents and we went to visit. We saw this building, fell in love with it, and bought it before the auction was scheduled,” says Jill.

The couple, longtime members of Indiana Landmarks, have a long track record of rehabilitating historic properties in Cambridge City, including their own 1836 Greek Revival home.

They prepared the little office building for relocation, then hauled it by semi-truck to Cambridge City, where a crane lifted the 11,000-pound structure onto a new foundation adjacent to Log House Antiques, another business owned by the Kings. “We decided to fill an empty space in the downtown and put the building to good use,” explains Jill. “We want it to be an asset to the downtown.”

Jilly's Gifts, Cambridge City

Jim completed most of the restoration work himself, repairing original clapboard and awnings, and replacing decayed windows and doors with new mahogany replacements designed to match the originals. Original pine floors shine under a new coat of finish.

In conjunction with the antiques store next door, the new gift shop at 122 W. Main Street offers locally produced crafts, candies, and garden goods. With more than a dozen antiques shops and a picturesque downtown lined with nineteenth-century buildings, Cambridge City makes an ideal destination for holiday shopping, or check it out during the annual Canal Days festival each September.

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