Thomas and Louisa Little House
5328 E. U.S. Highway 40, Plainfield
No Little Plans
On the west side of Plainfield along U.S. Highway 40, a stately frame house stands as a connection to the town’s early history, but it’s an artifact in peril. Hendricks Regional Health purchased the Thomas and Louisa Little House and surrounding 15 acres in 2017, proposing to demolish the landmark and build a new medical facility on the site. Following announcement of Hendricks’ initial plans for the property, members of the community protested, creating a Facebook page to draw attention to the house’s plight and circulating an online petition that drew nearly 9,000 signatures in favor of saving the landmark.
Built between 1885 and 1891, the large Queen Anne-style home sits on land first settled by pioneer and state legislator Alexander Little in 1830. His grandson, farmer Thomas Little, hired Thomas Havens to build the home for the Little family, replacing an earlier family farmstead.
Today, the Little House survives as one of the county’s most significant examples of Queen Anne architecture, incorporating a corner turret, wrap-around porch, fishscale shingles, and wooden windows with diamond-patterned glass. Inside, most of the home’s original floor plan and decorative features remain, including original woodwork, built-ins, pocket doors, and fireplaces with tile surrounds.
Public outcry convinced Hendricks to abandon its initial plans and offer the property for sale, but without any stipulations for the Little House’s protection. To ensure its future, the property needs a preservation-minded buyer willing to recapture its significant heritage.
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.