NEWS

Saving a Fire Damaged Landmark in Dillsboro

With key support from town officials, Indiana Landmarks has stepped in to stabilize Dillsboro’s historic Masonic Hall building and set up an opportunity for downtown revitalization.

Dillboro Masonic Hall

Small Town Smarts

With a population of just 1,400, Dillsboro is largely a residential community today, but it boasts a rich history stemming from its time as a resort spa town centered around the Dillsboro Sanitarium.

Dillsboro recognizes the value of its small-town charm, so when a fire raged through the roof of its former Masonic Hall – the town’s last historic commercial building – the blow seemed catastrophic. Damage from the fire, water, and sustained exposure to the elements rendered much of the building’s interior beyond salvage. However, with key support from town officials, Indiana Landmarks has stepped in to stabilize the c.1870 structure and set up an opportunity for revitalization.

Dillsboro Masonic HallDrying out the interior and preventing further deterioration is vital to the save. Once we take possession, our first priority will be installing a new roof. With that in place, we’ll be able to repair floor joists on the ground floor, remove damaged elements, and clean out the interior. While this means there will be little historic material left inside, it also means a future owner will have loads of flexibility in the layout. Potential uses including apartments, offices, retail outlets, or restaurants provide plenty of options.

The Town of Dillsboro has committed $25,000 towards the stabilization, recognizing the building’s importance to its small commercial corridor. “Our community looks to Indiana Landmarks to breathe new life into this building and our downtown,” says Susan Greco, Dillsboro’s Economic Development Director. “It has great potential for mixed use, a micro-pub or a spacious shared workspace,” she adds.

“Local buy-in makes projects like this possible. Historic preservation is not always about saving big, flashy architecture, it is also about saving places important to communities and using them as opportunities for reinvestment,” says Jarrad Holbrook, director of Indiana Landmarks’ Southeast Field Office. “Especially in small towns like Dillsboro, saving and reusing historic properties is more important than ever.”

Located on U.S. 50 — with easy access to Cincinnati and major retail shopping nearby in Aurora and Lawrenceburg – Dillboro has already created an attractive base for business by investing in park and infrastructure improvements and establishing design guidelines. For more information, contact Jarrad Holbrook at Indiana Landmarks’ Southeast Field Office, 800-450-4534, jholbrook@indianalandmarks.org.

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