The Monroe County town of Stinesville is the beginning of Indiana’s rich limestone history, and it’s easy to see the mark of that history in the five buildings that line the town’s Main Street. However, four of them have been vacant for some time, and Indiana Landmarks is looking to bring those buildings back to prominence. The Stinesville Commercial Buildings are included on this year’s 10 Most Endangered List, which features landmarks facing a multitude of problems.
Around INdiana Reporter Mary-Rachel Redman spotlighted the landmark in our Endangered INdiana series.
“Stinesville had one of, if not the first, limestone industry in the state. It started as early as the early 1850s, and so they supplied a lot of the limestone for buildings around the state of Indiana and beyond,” said Mark Dollase, vice president of Indiana Landmarks.
The four buildings, which have been vacant for some 25 years, are all connected along Main Street in addition to a fifth that is not included on the 10 Most Endangered list that houses Stinesville Mercantile, a post office that also doubles as a historical museum.
The buildings are listed on the National Register of Historic Places as part of the Stinesville Commercial Historic District. They were constructed along the town’s Main Street between 1884 and 1894.
The buildings don’t look bad from the front, but if you walk around to the back, it’s a completely different story. Crumbled brick and pieces of limestone show just how serious the deterioration of a once-booming piece of Hoosier cityscape really is.
Just over a year ago, the town offered to sell the buildings for $1 to a developer who could stabilize and restore them. While there was no interest from that offer, Dollase says Indiana Landmarks is hopeful new interest will be drummed up by the inclusion on the 10 Most Endangered list.
“These tangible reminders, these buildings that then also had the stone carvers who created the facades, the stone blocks that you see today in Stinesville, I think that’s something not only to be remembered but to be continually used as part of our active lives as we try to put an active use to these buildings again and that they still see active use in Stinesville in the 21st century.”
This is the second time the Stinesville Commercial Buildings have been included on the 10 Most Endangered list. The first was in the early 1990s.
You can learn more about the buildings from Indiana Landmarks by clicking here.