Work on a more than 160-year-old house, a Carnegie Library and a former state hospital are among the southern Indiana restoration efforts being honored by Indiana Landmarks. The projects are 2014 winners of the organization's Rosemary Prentice Awards. June 26, 2014

News Release

AURORA, Ind. – Indiana Landmarks singled out four owners to receive its annual Rosemary Prentice Awards recognizing high-quality restoration in southern Indiana.

Ohio County Historical Society won an award for transforming the oldest remaining portion of an industrial complex that housed William Clore & Sons Plow Manufacturing Company. The c.1840 Clore Wing in Rising Sun is now part of the historical society's museum. Prior to the rehabilitation, the Clore Wing served as storage for the museum.

“Many of the structure's most prominent features were hidden,” notes Seth Elder, Indiana Landmarks' Southeast Field Director. “The restoration removed modern partition walls that obscured the open shop floor, stripped layers of paint from timber support beams, and removed a dropped ceiling that hid a clerestory window.” The Clore Wing now serves as a multi-purpose space, hosting receptions, lectures, private functions and traveling exhibits.

Becky and Jim Buher won a Prentice Award for their rehabilitation of Bedford's Dunihue House, 1401 L Street in Bedford. The stately 1840 house began a slow decline after the turn of the century and was converted to a 4-unit apartment house in the 1920s. The slate roof was patched with tin. The box gutters, Italianate brackets and cornice were in bad shape. The original windows were inoperable and ancient wiring, cracked plaster and damaged floors needed attention.

The Buhers restored the landmark as their single-family home. They repaired the slate roof and replaced the rusted valleys with copper. Golden Hands Construction of Bloomington removed apartment doors and replaced them with windows matching the originals. The firm restored the 8-foot windows and transoms and refinished the floors. K & M Plastering removed wallpaper and repaired the plaster. Contractors brought the electric service up to code and added air-conditioning.

“The Buhers gave an outstanding home new life, and provide a great model for the rebirth of other neglected rental homes,” said Greg Sekula, director of Indiana Landmarks' Southern Regional Office.

The City of North Vernon won an Indiana Landmarks Prentice Award for converting the Carnegie Library to new use as City Hall.

Dubbed the crown jewel of the community by Mayor Harold “Soup” Campbell, North Vernon's historic 1920 Carnegie Library was adapted through the Stellar Communities project. After closing as a library in 1997, the building served as county offices and then sat vacant for several years.

The rehabilitation work, led by general contractor Bradshaw Building Specialties of North Vernon, included restoration of the masonry exterior, the construction of an ADA entrance, window repair, new kitchen, HVAC replacement, installation of a sprinkler system, asbestos abatement, and repair of original interior oak woodwork. “North Vernon's Town Hall represents respect for community heritage and reflects Andrew Carnegie's generosity to the citizens of Jennings County,” notes Sekula.

Silvercrest LLC in New Albany won a Prentice Award for adapting and rehabbing Silvercrest State Hospital. Previously threatened with demolition, Silvercrest State Hospital reopened last summer as Villages at Historic Silvercrest, one of the area's finest senior living communities.

Perched on a hill overlooking the city, the complex was constructed in 1940 by the Public Works Administration to serve tuberculosis patients in southern Indiana. The main building boasted a streamlined design that blended the Art Deco and Art Moderne styles. Closed after the decline of tuberculosis, the facility later served as a children’s development center until it closed once again in 2006. State officials planned to demolish the buildings and market the property as cleared land but bowed to opposition from local preservation advocates and Indiana Landmarks.

Real estate developer Matt Chalfant bought Silvercrest for adaptation as an 'aging in place' campus. He removed 7500 cubic yards of trash and debris before restoration began in 2012. He adapted the main hospital building as 94 housing units. Masonry was cleaned and repaired. The new windows replicate the originals. Chalfant maintained the distinctive Art Moderne interior features – including the sleek steel staircase railings, original elevator cars and terrazzo lobby floor.

Twenty six new independent living cottages have been built on the campus, with more under construction, in a bungalow-inspired design. The historic Administration Building is also being rehabbed as apartments. “The Villages at Historic Silvercrest is a wonderful example of preservation and adaptive use, and proof that vintage buildings need not be sent to clog our landfills,” Sekula declared.

The Prentice Awards are named in honor of the late advocate who helped create a strong preservation organization in Jeffersonville and led Indiana Landmarks to open a regional office in southern Indiana.

The awards were presented during Indiana Landmarks’ recent Moveable Feast in Aurora, a progressive dinner held in three historic venues.

Source: Indiana Landmarks

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