Saving a Facade
Demolition is never a first choice, but when a building is too deteriorated to be rehabilitated, or if a structure cannot safely support new construction, we sometimes opt to save only the historic façade. This practice is known as facadism or a facadectomy, and it can be the last hope for preserving the character of a historic place and maintaining a historic streetscape.
In Evansville, a grant from Indiana Landmarks’ Efroymson Family Endangered Places program is helping the Downtown Evansville Community Development Corporation determine the feasibility of preserving the historic façade of the Atlantic Building while incorporating new development.
Constructed c.1869, the Atlantic Building is part of the city’s last remaining intact nineteenth-century commercial block. It was an important part of Evansville’s Fourth Street market area, located between Locust and Chestnut streets. Convenient to Baptisttown, a historically African American neighborhood, as well as the Riverside neighborhood, the area was a popular shopping destination where patrons could find saloons, clothing and secondhand stores, barber shops, boarding houses, groceries, and restaurants, with additional stalls occupying the wide sidewalks.
Today, the Atlantic Building is included in the National Register-listed Evansville Downtown Historic District.
A Hoosier credit union identified the property for use as a new regional headquarters, originally planning to demolish the Atlantic Building and construct a larger facility. At the urging of preservation advocates, Downtown Evansville is using our grant to have local engineering firm Hodge Structural assess the historic façade, determining whether it can be saved and incorporated into future construction at the site.
Preserving the façade will maintain the historic character of the commercial block, while allowing the credit union to bring valuable investment and business to the community.
To learn more about the project, contact Candice Croix, director of Indiana Landmarks’ Southwest Regional Office, 812-423-2988, firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about Indiana Landmarks’ grants programs, see the grants and loan page or contact the regional office nearest you.
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