Easements Help Protect Landmark Properties

Owners donate preservation easements to safeguard properties in Rush County and Vincennes.

In Rush County, Indiana Landmarks received an easement on a c.1890 Queen Anne farmhouse (above) that has been in the same family since its construction. (Photo: Brittany Miller)

Saving It for Later

When a property has been in a family for 150 years, it’s not surprising to find strong generational appreciation for its history. In 2023, members of the extended Selby family in Rush County took the added step of protecting their farm’s heritage by donating a preservation easement to Indiana Landmarks on a farmhouse on the property their family has owned since 1873.

The c.1890 Queen Anne house has been a special gathering place for generations of family and friends prompting Marilyn Woods and her nephew Carl Harcourt to donate the easement prior to Wood’s passing in 2023.

“The Selby family has worked hard to keep the farm in the family through hard times,” says Harcourt, who grew up in the house. “We wanted to make sure the house was preserved in the future and taken care of in the way it deserves. My aunt did a wonderful job keeping it intact, and we want to make sure it is maintained.”

In 2023, Indiana Landmarks also received preservation easements on landmarks in Vincennes and Huntingburg. In Huntingburg, Carrie Houchin donated an easement on the 1852 Geiger House, hoping to protect it from nearby commercial development. The easement safeguards the home’s masonry exterior as well as significant Greek Revival features inside, including a mantel, woodwork, and staircase.

Vincennes’ c.1840 Hilt House (Photo: Jennifer Holscher)

In Vincennes, the c.1840 Hilt House ranks among the city’s oldest residences. When the property’s owner considered demolition in 2014, Indiana Landmarks brokered a deal to donate the French Creole-influenced residence to our affiliate Vincennes/Knox Preservation Foundation and helped secure a $10,000 Efroymson Family Fund grant for its exterior rehabilitation. To ward off future threats, Vincennes/Knox Preservation Foundation donated an easement on the Hilt House before selling it to Jennifer Holscher and Fernando Lozano, who plan to return the property to residential use. “As a longtime member of the local group and Indiana Landmarks, I personally believe in restoring homes like this and putting them back to use,” says Holscher. “I’m glad to have the easement and know the Hilt House will be protected beyond my lifetime.”

To learn more about the benefits of preservation easements, contact the Indiana Landmarks regional office nearest you, or check out our downloadable guide.

This article first appeared in the January/February 2024 issue of Indiana Preservation, Indiana Landmarks’ member magazine.

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