A Way of Life
For Brian and Aaron Blight, rescuing things that are neglected or unwanted is a way of life. The couple previously renovated a vintage cottage in South Bend, rescuing a discarded slate roof from a nearby school undergoing renovation for installation on their home. As founder of Heartland Small Animal Rescue, Aaron works to find loving families for pets in need. Now, as new owners of the Haven Hubbard House in New Carlisle, she and Brian are bringing their enthusiasm to one of the area’s most historic properties.
Haven Hubbard’s grandfather built the stately brick home around 1860 as the centerpiece of a sprawling farm, adding the distinctive solarium and other Queen Anne features during an 1890s remodel. In 1916, Haven’s widow Armenia donated the 750-acre farm and nineteenth-century homestead to the Evangelical Church, with enough money to build the Haven Hubbard Memorial Old People’s Home.
Today, Greencroft Communities operates a modern retirement facility on the property. The historic house had been vacant for nearly a decade, however, when our local affiliate, Historic New Carlisle, raised concerns about its future. The group facilitated discussions with Greencroft, and helped clean out the house to prepare it for marketing.
Indiana Landmarks negotiated an agreement with Greencroft’s board to sell the house, using an option to buy the property. We sold it to the Blights with covenants protecting the exterior as well as interior details, including stunning original woodwork and built-ins, fireplaces and exquisite parquet floors—features that drew the couple to the property.
“We couldn’t have made this save without Greencroft’s commitment,” says Todd Zeiger, director of Indiana Landmarks’ Northern Regional Office. “The happy ending is payoff for years of conversations and legal work aimed at getting the house into the hands of people who will bring new life to it.”
Brian and Aaron closed on the house just before Christmas and immediately jumped into action. Brian’s experience as a project manager for Core Construction will guide the restoration. “I come from a long line of carpenters, and I still have their old toolboxes, including a tool chest from my great-grandfather,” says Brian. “The woodwork and details inside of the home fit well with that heritage and were part of what drew me to the property.”
Stay up to date on the latest news, stories, and events from Indiana Landmarks, around the state or in your area.