Once is bad enough, but twice? A historic home under renovation in Evansville’s Riverside Historic District remains seriously damaged after being struck by vehicles twice in just five days.
In May, a construction truck jumped a curb and plowed into the Raleigh House at 414 SE Riverside Drive. The truck traveled up the home’s front steps and crashed through a wall before coming to rest partially inside the house. No one was hurt, but the tremendous impact caused a corner of the three-story building to collapse.
With the truck wedged into the building, structural engineers feared removing it would cause further collapse and left the vehicle in place while they devised a way to shore up the house. Unbelievably, just days later another driver swerved off the road and crashed into the truck, further jeopardizing the historic property.
Named for Richard Raleigh, an Evansville newspaper founder and city councilman, the c.1868 house is one of several large homes built by prosperous residents along Riverside Drive in the nineteenth century.
After weeks of consultation and calculation, engineers designed a system of steel beams to hold the house up while crews undertake repairs. The house’s owners are working with Evansville’s preservation commission on restoring historic features damaged by the crash, including a distinctive three-story wrought-iron balcony. Reconstruction is expected to take a least a year.
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