When English-born craftsman William Prosser moved to Indianapolis in the 1880s, he built a modestly sized home at 1454 E. 10th Street on the city’s east side, but it was no ordinary house. Prosser used the home as a canvas for his talents as a master plasterer, appointing it inside and out with exuberant plasterwork. Outside, the house features plaster quoins, plaster cornices, and stucco etched to create the illusion of ashlar masonry. Inside, rooms feature delicate classical plaster ceiling moldings.
By the time Joe Everhart and Ken Ramsay bought the William Prosser House in 2016, years of neglect and water infiltration left much of the plaster heavily damaged. The pair revived the home’s original striking appearance. Following a rehabilitation worthy of Architectural Digest, Everhart and Ramsey sold the home for $375,000.
The extraordinary transformation earned our 2019 Old House Rehab Award, one of several preservation awards presented each May by Indiana Landmarks’ Central Regional Office.
Coming Up Roses
Marian University received an Outstanding Restoration Award for its multi-year landscape restoration at Riverdale, the former estate of James Allison.
Designed in 1911 by renowned Danish landscape architect Jens Jensen as the setting for the Allison Mansion in Indianapolis, Riverdale is a classic early twentieth-century landscape, featuring groupings of plants, a rose garden built around an elegant fountain, and a rounded double-colonnade surrounding a statue of St. Francis.
As part of the $2-million project—guided by landscape architect Barth Hendrickson of Browning Day Mullins Dierdorf Architects—workers restored and reset 24 limestone and dolomite pillars in the colonnade and reconstructed a curving cedar pergola from Jensen’s original drawings. The landscape became a part of the university’s campus when the school acquired the Allison estate in 1937.
The rehabilitation of an industrial building in Bloomington earned our Outstanding Restoration Award for projects outside of Marion County. Built in 1915, the 19,000-square-foot space once belonged to the Showers Brothers Furniture Factory. The City of Bloomington partnered with Dimension Mill, Inc. on a $4 million revitalization of the long-vacant facility to create The Mill, a lively coworking space, business incubator, and event center at the heart of Bloomington’s Trades District.
Work included replicating long-lost wood windows and installing new panels in the building’s signature sawtooth roof to filter natural daylighting to the interior. Indianapolis-based Blackline Studio provided architectural services for the project.
Built in 1868, the Hendricks County Poor Asylum in Danville is one of the last and oldest continuously operating county homes in Indiana. Now known as Cypress Manor, the facility is managed by Hendricks Regional Health through an innovative agreement with the county, which continues to own the building. For ongoing stewardship of the landmark, we presented Hendricks County, Hendricks Regional Health, and Cypress Manor staff our Continued Use Award, which honors historic properties that still serve their original purpose with minimal changes to their original appearance.
Recent improvements at the stately Greek Revival and Italianate style building include restoration of the building’s impressive curved central staircase and the repurposing a former cell block as a community space where residents can practice cooking and other life skills before transitioning to independent living.
Bill Atkins and Betsy Brougher earned our Adaptive Use Award for their multi-million-dollar transformation of the 1900 Southside Turnverein Hall in Indianapolis, a former center of German-American culture and social life. Designed by the historic architectural firm Vonnegut and Bohn, the German Renaissance Revival landmark included lecture rooms, a mess hall, and combined gymnasium and auditorium to support the southside society of Turners in its trademark pursuit of “healthy minds in healthy bodies.” The Turnverein Hall closed in 1977 and remained little-used until 2016, when Atkins and Brougher restored the building as headquarters for their company, Point Comfort Underwriters.
Indianapolis architecture firm RATIO worked with Point Comfort Underwriters on the comprehensive rehabilitation, which qualified for the federal Historic Tax Credit once the building was listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Improvements included restoring all of the building’s original wooden windows and doors and converting the former gymnasium into an open-concept workspace. Indianapolis-based Ignition Arts replicated the Rudolph Schwartz-designed bas relief on the building’s west façade, artfully replicating the deteriorated terra cotta cartouche of Friedrich Ludwig Jahn—founder of the Turners—in sturdy fiberglass.
Since 1978, Indiana Landmarks has presented the Central Regional Preservation Awards, recognizing outstanding restoration, revitalization, and other preservation accomplishments. The celebration takes place each May as part of National Historic Preservation Month. For more information, contact our Central Regional Office, 317-639-4534, email@example.com.
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