46 Allendale, Terre Haute
On the Edge
In 1915, Chapman Root’s Terre Haute glass company designed the curvy Coca-Cola bottle recognized throughout the world. His business was already successful, making bottles for Coca-Cola and other beverage manufacturers, but the green glass contour bottle took the Root family’s wealth to another level. In 1925, Root bought as a weekend retreat an 88-acre estate the family called Rocky Edge in Allendale, a hilly neighborhood south of the Terre Haute.
The Spanish Revival-style hillside villa overlooked landscaped and terraced grounds with rock gardens and water features, a glass-enclosed pool house with painted and tile murals, a conservatory, gatehouse, even a small private zoo. Strange subterranean spaces here and there suggest movement of bootleg liquor. Prohibition didn’t put a damper on the famous parties at Rocky Edge.
The Root family sold the estate in the 1960s. The long vacant house sits in ruinous condition on 3.5 acres. Nature has overtaken the glass pool house and conservatory, where vines and roots drape over the steel building frameworks. The only advantage of nature run amok across the grounds is that it conceals tile and stone landscape elements from vandals and thieves who have damaged the structures and stolen decorative features.
While foreclosure and a court-mandated sale looms, no one is looking after Rocky Edge. The historic property needs a new owner who’ll restore the estate to recapture its colorful character.
Saving threatened buildings takes teamwork. You can be a part of that team. Reach out to local leaders. Let them know these buildings are important to you. And support state and local preservation groups.