10 Most Endangered

Starr Historic District

Bounded by North A Street, North E Street, North 10th Street, and North 16th Street, Richmond

Starr Historic District, Richmond

Falling Starr

Beginning in the 1860s, Richmond’s well-to-do flocked to an elite residential neighborhood north of the city’s downtown, where they built large homes reflecting their elevated status. Named for early residents Charles and Elizabeth Starr, the neighborhood’s architecture captures the range of house styles popular during the later nineteenth century, including Greek Revival, Italianate, Second Empire, and Queen Anne.

At one time, architecture enthusiasts considered the Starr Historic District one of the Midwest’s best-preserved Victorian-era neighborhoods. Today, however, the area is better known for its ongoing decline.

Most of the large homes built for wealthy families have been divided into multi-unit rental housing, much of it controlled by negligent or absentee owners. A 2018 study by Ball State University found that less than a quarter of the district’s homes are occupied by their owners, and several properties have been abandoned altogether.

Though revitalization is on the rise in downtown Richmond, it has yet to spread to the Starr neighborhood in any substantial way, and the district’s National Register status offers no protection against neglectful property owners. Local designation under a historic preservation commission would help, as would strengthened ordinances against absentee owners and landlords.

Local stakeholders, including Richmond Columbian Properties and Richmond Neighborhood Restoration, are trying to turn the tide, promoting community engagement initiatives and advocating for improved code enforcement.

Indiana Landmarks is adding support by investing in select properties and relocating our Eastern Regional Office to the formerly endangered Reid Memorial Presbyterian Church, now operated by a local nonprofit as The Reid Center.

In the meantime, the Starr district struggles, and blight continues to erode the neighborhood’s former grandeur.

For More Information

Mark Dollase
Indiana Landmarks Vice President of Preservation Services

Ray Ontko
Board Member
The Reid Center

Act Now to Save This Place

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.