Indiana Landmarks Buys Historic LaPorte Home

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Efforts are underway in LaPorte to save a neglected, historic property. Indiana Landmarks has acquired the Scott-Rumely House, which was built at the turn of the 20th Century by a former mayor of the city. May 2, 2014

News Release

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - Indiana Landmarks announced its purchase of the historic Scott-Rumely House in LaPorte, rescuing it from years spent neglected in foreclosure and vacancy. The house occupies a city-block long lot at 211 Rose Street.

"Indiana Landmarks' mission is to save meaningful places, and this neglected property rises to the top," says Todd Zeiger, director of the organization's Northern Regional Office in South Bend.

The grand Classical Revival house was built in 1901 and until 1979 occupied by the Scott and Rumely families, figures important in the history of LaPorte and American education. Emmet Scott, the home's builder, was a mayor of LaPorte whose daughter Fanny married Edward A. Rumely. Rumely, a physician by training, was active in his family's tractor business, owned the New York Evening Mail, and was close to Theodore Roosevelt. The Rumelys hosted international celebrities at their home, including Henry Ford and internationally noted sculptor Isamu Noguchi.

Rumely founded the Interlaken School in Rolling Prairie, a progressive prep school for boys that drew students from throughout the nation. The Japanese-American Isamu Noguchi was a student at the school who remained close to the Rumely family long after his graduation. The school's progressive curriculum featured academic instruction applied in mechanical and agricultural training. Rumely's educational philosophy fostered leadership and life preparedness. The school operated for ten years, closing in 1918.

Owned by an out-of-state bank and on the market for several years, the Scott-Rumely House has suffered deferred maintenance. "One of our first priorities will be to address the deterioration of the house and grounds," Zeiger said. Indiana Landmarks is nominating the property to National Register of Historic Places.

"We can use help from the community. On May 17, we hope volunteers will come to help us clean up the grounds," Zeiger noted. Work will take place from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. (Central Standard Tme). In exchange for their help, volunteers will get to tour the house. Refreshments and lunch will also be provided.

Indiana Landmarks' LaPorte affiliate organization, People Engaged in Preservation (PEP), is assisting in managing the property and its renovation and will be joined on May 17 by members of LaPorte's Historic Preservation Commission.

Indiana Landmarks will put the mansion on the market after repairing the the gutters, roof, soffits and heating system.

To volunteer for the cleanup day go to http://scott-rumely.eventbrite.com, or contact Paul Hayden at 574-232-4534 or phayden@indianalandamrks.org. For more information about the property and its eventual sale, contact Todd Zeiger at Indiana Landmarks, 574-232-4534 or tzeiger@indianalandmarks.org

Indiana Landmarks, a private nonprofit organization, has worked for half a century saving historic places and using preservation as a catalyst to revitalize communities. What started as a small, all-volunteer group has grown to the largest statewide preservation group in the U.S., with 6,200 members and a staff of 36 in eight offices around Indiana. For more information on Indiana Landmarks, call 317-639-4534, 800-450-4534, or visit www.indianalandmarks.org.

Source: Indiana Landmarks Northern Regional Office