The clock is ticking on chances to save a historic house on Huntingburg’s Main Street.
The City of Huntingburg acquired the property late last year, planning to demolish it to provide expanded parking for nearby downtown businesses. The small nineteenth-century home stands at 405 N. Main Street, in a National Register-eligible residential neighborhood adjacent to the city’s historic commercial district, which is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
Local preservation supporters have joined with Indiana Landmarks to advocate for the house’s rehabilitation and reuse, pointing out that demolition would create a gap in an otherwise intact historic streetscape, and that parking spaces could easily be located behind the property instead.
“The house suffers from some deferred maintenance, but it is structurally sound and retains a great deal of historic character,” says Greg Sekula, director of Indiana Landmarks’ Southern Regional Office. “It has tremendous potential for commercial or residential use,” he adds.
Under its current clapboard and aluminum siding, the house’s original first story is solid brick, with a dormered second story added sometime in the 1930s. Other historic features include original woodwork, divided light windows, and quartersawn oak floors.
City officials are willing to entertain public proposals for sale or lease of the house, though any reuse would still involve creation of public parking behind the building. Demolition plans are on hold as the city council seeks rehabilitation proposals, which are due by the end of July.
Located in southwest Dubois County, Huntingburg is a city ripe for investment—recognized for its rich collection of historic buildings, including a vibrant late-Victorian downtown district populated with quaint specialty shops and restaurants.
In 2014, the city received a Stellar Communities grant through the State of Indiana. Designed to fund comprehensive community development projects in Indiana’s smaller communities, the Stellar Communities program is a partnership of multiple state government agencies, including the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs (OCRA), Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority (IHCDA), and the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT). The Stellar Communities grant in Huntingburg helped fund streetscape improvements along 4th Street, the city’s main commercial corridor, and development of a City Market Park behind the former historic city hall.
To learn more about submitting a proposal, contact Indiana Landmarks’ Southern Regional Office, firstname.lastname@example.org.
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