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DNR Grants Will Help Preserve Local History Across State

The DNR Division of Historic Preservation & Archaeology (DHPA) has awarded 14 federal Historic Preservation Fund (HPF) grants totaling more than $481,000 for historic preservation and archaeology projects in Indiana communities. In most cases, these grants require a dollar-for-dollar match of local or private funds for a total projected investment of $929,000 in cultural resource projects across the state.

Funding comes from the National Park Service, a unit of the U.S. Department of the Interior, which distributes federal funds to the states through its HPF Program. Since 2000, the state has awarded $11 million to assist more than 500 important heritage preservation projects across Indiana. When combined with local matching funds, this represents investment of more than $23 million into preservation of Indiana’s heritage.

Angola: The Powers Church and Cemetery Association will receive a $25,000 grant to rehabilitate the bell tower and steeple of the 1876 wood-frame church. It was built as part of the community established by the Powers brothers and served the community until the early 20th century. A committee to save and protect the church formed in the 1970s and found the church to be almost entirely intact, with original interior features and décor. The committee has carefully maintained the church since then, but there is water infiltration and wood rot evident in the steeple and bell tower, which is threatening these prominent features as well as interior spaces with original finishes. The scope of work includes inspecting and reinforcing the structural portion of the tower and steeple, and repairing damaged and rotted woodwork that clads the steeple and bell tower. For information contact Marcia Powers, 260-668-5908.

Bloomington: The Monroe County government will receive a $49,850 matching grant to rehabilitate the Alexander Memorial on the grounds of the Monroe County Courthouse. The memorial was erected in 1928 at Alexander’s direction. He was a county native and Civil War veteran. The monument was placed on the courthouse grounds as a memorial to honor all soldiers and sailors from Monroe County who served in all wars. A 2017 assessment documented physical conditions as well as the original construction methods and found that most mortar joints were severely eroded and allowing water infiltration into the interior of the monument structure. In addition, biological growth may be holding moisture that is causing staining and stone erosion. The scope of work includes gently cleaning the historic limestone elements of environmental staining as well as organic growth, and repointing all mortar joints. Mortar pointing will also be conducted during the reassembly and reinstallation of carved stone panels that are being restored and not being funded by the grant. For more information contact Danielle Bachant-Bell, 812-336-6141.

Chesterfield: The Friends of Camp Chesterfield will receive $11,500 to rehabilitate the Koch Cottage, believed to have been constructed in 1899. It is the most architecturally intact example at the Chesterfield Spiritualist Camp of a two-story cottage from the late 19th/early-20th century. It is located on the park side of the district and has few exterior alterations and a high degree of architectural integrity. The cottage has had recent preservation investment, including installation of a new roof, fabrication of 14 custom-made wood windows to replace original units that were damaged and rotted beyond repair, removal of asphalt siding, and replacement of rotted foundation sill plates. The HPF project will result in a number of exterior rehabilitation activities in order to halt water and animal infiltration, repair damaged and deteriorated features, and finish securing the building envelope. For more information, contact Suzanne Stanis, 317-639-4534.

DeKalb County: The DeKalb County commissioners will receive $50,000 to assist with rehabilitating the Spencerville Covered Bridge. Built in 1873, the bridge is located just outside Spencerville and is the last remaining covered bridge in DeKalb County. It is a 146-foot long single span that was constructed using a Smith IV truss method. A routine inspection in 2017 revealed severe water damage to the bolster beams, the ends of the lower chords, and additional wear to the abutments. Evidence of wood rot and wood softening were found as well as some damage to the decking, posing potential hazards for users. As a result of these issues, the bridge was closed to any use. The scope of work consists of jacking the bridge up from the abutments in order to access its lower members, repair and partial replacement of the four ends of the lower chords, repair or replacement for the bolster beams at the four corners, and replacement of the top layer of decking and the bottom layer of transverse decking. For more information contact Ben Parker, 260-925-1864.

Fort Wayne: The City of Fort Wayne will receive a $50,000 matching grant to assist with rehabilitation of the ironwork on the Wells Street Bridge. The bridge is a metal Whipple truss built in 1884. It is a 180-foot single span across the St. Marys River that was used for vehicular traffic until 1982, connecting the downtown with the near north side of Fort Wayne. Since its closure to vehicles, it has been used exclusively by pedestrians and bicyclists as part of a popular trail in Promenade Park. Although the bridge remains structurally sound, many decorative cast iron elements have deteriorated, cracked, and broken, resulting in loss of many of the pieces that have been shed and posing a safety hazard for users. For more information contact Sarah Nichter, 260-427-6024.

Fort Wayne: The City of Fort Wayne will also receive a $3,020 matching grant to nominate the Beechwood Historic District to the National Register of Historic Places. The district comprises several plats, with large homes constructed from the late 19th century through the 1940s. Significant for community development and planning, this picturesque neighborhood with large lots, mature trees, and some curvilinear streets seamlessly incorporates its natural topography into the neighborhood design. This district will include approximately 57 contributing properties. For more information contact Don Orban, 260-427-2160.

Huntington: The City of Huntington will receive a $20,000 grant to prepare rehabilitation plans for the Memorial Park Water Race. In 1937, a WPA project embedded large flat stones into the sloping banks of the park to create a water race that carried storm water from the spillway of the south pond to West Park Drive. The stone race channel walls are roughly 16 inches thick, range in height from 3 to 5 feet, vary in width from 8 to 12 feet, and run nearly 500 feet in length. Overall, the water race is in fair to poor condition. There are several places where deterioration has caused some of the stone walls to collapse due to hydraulic forces, freeze-thaw cycles, undercutting, and vegetation growth. In addition, the channel and in-line basin are affected by debris and vegetation growth. The project will use HPF funds to hire a professional engineering firm to evaluate the current condition of the stone race and develop plans for appropriate rehabilitation. For more information contact Bryn Keplinger, 260-356-5146.

Indianapolis: The Indianapolis Propylaeum will receive a $48,465 grant for masonry rehabilitation on the original carriage house of the Schmidt-Schaf home. It is the only original two-story, brick-clad structure of its type in the Old Northside Historic District. This building originally housed carriages and automobiles as well as the boiler plant, laundry facilities, and rooms and apartments for servants who worked in the main house. The building was later adapted into two storefronts facing 14th Street, an upstairs apartment, a large studio space, and a townhouse. Masonry deterioration has resulted in water infiltration that has damaged interior spaces and left parts of the building unfit for use or occupancy. For more information contact Rose Wernicke, 317-372-3625.

Monticello: The Twin Lakes School Corporation will receive $26,558 to address foundation issues at its historic administration building, which was once Southside School. The brick Romanesque Revival style structure was built in 1892 and became the administration building in 1963. It withstood the 1974 tornado that damaged and destroyed part of downtown Monticello, was renovated in 1988, and had an addition built in 2007 to better accommodate staff and provide ADA compliant access. The building has some masonry deterioration and water infiltration issues due to ponding, improper water runoff, and settling of the foundation. The scope of work includes rehabilitating the masonry foundation and properly addressing guttering and runoff issues that have exacerbated brick masonry deterioration in certain locations, particularly the southwest corner. For more information contact Jennifer Harrison, 574-583-7211.

Morgan and Monroe Counties: Ball State University’s Applied Anthropology Laboratories will receive $49,999 for an archaeological survey at portions of Morgan-Monroe State Forest. The project will conduct a Phase Ia survey of approximately 60 acres situated in the vicinity of two Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) camps that were built in the 1930s, one of which was built for African American workers. The focus will be on areas surrounding the camps. The project will fully delineate the extent of the camps and document any archaeological features. For more information contact Christine Thompson, 765-285-5328.

Muncie: Cornerstone Center for the Arts will receive a $37,100 grant to stabilize and rehabilitate the exterior masonry of the six-story Tudor Gothic Revival style Masonic Temple built in 1926. Currently, the building is home to the Cornerstone Center for the Arts, which provides arts, arts education, and community enrichment in east-central Indiana. Over the years, multiple projects to maintain, rehabilitate, and modernize the building for use have been completed. A 2019 assessment identified ongoing areas that require attention. One is exterior masonry rehabilitation on the weather-exposed west elevation, which has extensive mortar loss that is allowing water infiltration. This water damage has resulted in significant plaster and paint deterioration on the third floor and third mezzanine level. For more information contact Cornerstone Center for the Arts, 765-281-9503.

New Albany: The Floyd County Historical Society will receive $10,000 for masonry rehabilitation on the William Young House. The ca. 1837 brick residence now houses the Floyd County Historical Society’s Padgett Museum. The building retains significant integrity with original six-over-six windows, interior woodwork, and other features intact. Some masonry rehabilitation was performed in 2005, and the north and east side elevations are in good condition. The west and south elevations both exhibit brick deterioration, mortar loss, and some areas of deflection. The project consists of masonry rehabilitation to stabilize the west and south sides of the building. For more information contact Laura Renwick, 812-284-4534.

Tippecanoe County: The University of Indianapolis will receive a $49,998 grant for an archaeological survey at Prophetstown State Park. Park staff have identified four high-priority areas. The project will conduct Phase Ib survey of at least 19 acres across three of these four areas and conduct ground penetrating radar (GPR) survey of the four pre-contact mounds within the park. The HPF-assisted survey activities will encompass a total of approximately 25 acres. For more information contact Christopher Moore, 317-788-3534.

Vincennes: The City of Vincennes will receive a $50,000 grant to continue window rehabilitation on its Beaux Arts style police department building, which was originally the town’s post office. For this project, 25 original windows will be rehabilitated, and appropriate wood replacement units will be fabricated for five vinyl windows. Most of the original windows covered by this phase are six-over-six double-hung units or paired six-light casements. The wood windows have deteriorated due to weathering, paint loss, dry rot, joint separation, and water infiltration. The five vinyl windows will be replaced with newly fabricated wood windows to match the original windows throughout the building. For more information on this project, contact Michelle Carrico, 812-295-3707.

For more information on the HPF and the grant process, contact Malia Vanaman, HPF assistant grants manager, at 317-232-1648.