Vernon Home Offers Hidden Potential

For the right buyer, the Leavitt House in Vernon could be a picturesque home in a community deeply proud of its rich heritage.

Vernon Courthouse Square
The 1859 Jennings County Courthouse anchors Vernon's historic downtown. With a population of 312, the town is the state's smallest county seat. (Photo: Lee Lewellen)

Under Wraps

If you’re looking for a picturesque country retreat, you could hardly do better than Jennings County, where the Muscatatuck River winds through miles of rolling green terrain past wildlife preserves, state forest, and the Muscatatuck State Park. Perched on an elevated lot overlooking the river, the c.1884 Robert and Mary Ann Leavitt house in Vernon offers potential as a serene and stylish home in a community proud of its heritage.

With a population of 312 people, Vernon is the state’s smallest county seat. The National Register-listed Vernon Historic District encompasses the entire town, concentrated around the 1859 Jennings County courthouse. The area is rich with history, including an incursion by John Hunt Morgan’s Confederate raiders in 1863. In the 1880s and ’90, Hoosier artist T.C. Steele often traveled to Vernon to paint the surrounding countryside, writing “I wonder if the crimson oaks will ever look so fine, burn with such inward fire, and toned with such an envelope of ashen gray as those we used to see at Vernon. Somehow the things at Vernon seem to be the standard by which things are judged.”

Leavitt House, Vernon

Leavitt House in Vernon

The Leavitt house sits just north of downtown. Aluminum siding currently obscures most of the house’s original Queen Anne-style features, but the interior hints at the home’s earlier elegance, with original woodwork, hardwood floors, pocket doors, and a partial open staircase. The living room includes a corner fireplace and built-in window seat, and the dining room features built-in cabinetry.

The home includes approximately 3,456 square feet, with an unfinished walk-up attic space for storage or additional living space. The house will require complete rehabilitation, including all new systems, kitchen and baths. On the market for $64,500, the house will be sold with preservation covenants requiring exterior work to be approved by Indiana Landmarks, including removal of the aluminum siding and restoration of original wood clapboard underneath. The successful buyer will be required to submit a rehabilitation plan before beginning work.

The property includes two acres, though additional acreage may be available for purchase if the buyer is interested.

Vernon is located approximately halfway between Indianapolis and Louisville, Kentucky.

For more information, contact Indiana Landmarks’ Southern Regional Office, 812-284-4534 or

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