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Indiana Landmarks targets Wabash neighborhood for revitalization

It’s a story line fit for an HGTV series. Indiana Landmarks has acquired six historic houses in one Wabash neighborhood with plans to rehab the exteriors and add curb appeal before putting the properties back on the market in early 2021.

 

“When 23 historic houses recently came up for auction in Wabash, we saw an opportunity to make a big impact,” said Marsh Davis, president of Indiana Landmarks. “We decided to focus on six of the most architecturally significant homes in a concentrated area.”

 

All of the houses are located in the East Wabash Historic District, a National Register-listed neighborhood roughly bounded by Walnut, East Market, North Wabash and South East streets. The properties recently served as rental housing, most divided into apartments.

 

“These homes today are detractors for that neighborhood,” said Parker Beauchamp, Wabash native, business owner, and past chairman of Indiana Landmarks’ board of directors. “Once Indiana Landmarks has fixed them up, I hope the biggest detractors will become the biggest attractors, the reason why people would move to that neighborhood.”

 

“By improving a cluster of homes in a two- to three-block area, there’s really an opportunity to transform the neighborhood,” said Dave Haist, an Indiana Landmarks board member who lives in the neighborhood.

 

Built from the 1870s to the 1910s, the houses illustrate the range of architectural styles in the historic district.

 

“There truly is something for everybody, from a modest, wood frame house to larger Victorians,” said Paul Hayden, director of Indiana Landmarks’ northeast office in Wabash, who will lead the exterior renovation and sales efforts. “It’s a mad mix of styles and sizes.”

 

“From our past experience with Indiana Landmarks, we know that these houses are going to be returned to a much better condition and standard once they are done with them,” said Wabash Mayor Scott Long. “Wabash is seeing a resurgence of people who want to take on historic homes and repair them to their former grandeur, but it’s been tough to buy in certain categories. We hope this fills a need.”

 

Wabash’s vibrant downtown includes a variety of shops and restaurants, as well as the Charley Creek Inn, and historic entertainment venues including the Honeywell Center and recently restored Eagles Theatre. But options for homebuyers have been limited, particularly for those seeking historic houses.

 

“As leaders of Wabash look for what is needed to attract people to live and work here, the number one issue is having housing that it affordable and livable. Our amenities are fantastic, but people can’t find a home,” said Haist. “When restored, these houses will be in high demand.”

 

Acquiring the houses and rehabbing the exteriors is expected to cost $770,000, funded by Indiana Landmarks, the City of Wabash, and donations from private individuals and organizations.

 

The six houses include:

143 E. Main Street

196 E. Main Street

218 E. Main Street

189 N. Wabash Street

106-108 E. Hill Street

58 N. Allen Street

 

Previously, Indiana Landmarks partnered with the City to acquire and repair the 1848 Alber House, Wabash’s oldest extant house, and with the Wabash County Commission on the 1880 Wabash Sheriff’s House and Jail, a former entry on Landmarks’ 10 Most Endangered list now on the market for $79,000.

 

Indiana Landmarks revitalizes communities, reconnects us to our heritage, and saves meaningful places. With nine offices located throughout the state, Indiana Landmarks helps people rescue endangered landmarks and restore historic neighborhoods and downtowns. People who join Indiana Landmarks receive its bimonthly magazine, Indiana Preservation. For more information on the not-for-profit organization, call 317-639-4534, 800-450-4534, or visit www.indianalandmarks.org.

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