Old State Road 56, Rising Sun
Wanted: New Owner to Make House Great Again
Long deferred maintenance and vacancy threaten one of Indiana’s great nineteenth-century houses. The Speakman House, built in 1846 of bricks baked on site, sits above Laughery Creek with a view of the Ohio River north of Rising Sun.
After Stephen Speakman died in 1853, his widow remained, relying on freed slaves for farm labor and to take care of the house, keeping it warm by tending to the nine fireplaces.
Local legend suggests the farm was part of the Underground Railroad network, that it sits atop an Indian burial mound, that the ghost of a lad who drowned in the creek haunts the nearby National Register-listed Laughery Creek Bridge.
The historic porches are collapsing, the roof leaks, and the 17-room interior suffers water damage. The ownership structure—two owners, one with a life estate—makes a sale complicated, but the great house desperately needs a restoration-minded new owner.
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.