NORTH VERNON - A more than century-old home in North Vernon is receiving new life. Indiana Landmarks says significant renovations to the Joseph Cone house in the city's State Street Historic District, built in 1894, are expected to be complete in December.

The home had fallen into disrepair and in 2017, the Jennings County Area Plan Commission received a court-ordered eviction and signed a demolition order. Indiana Landmarks was able to work with the home's owner, who agreed to donate the home to the organization. The demolition was stayed by a temporary injunction on the condition that substantial repairs be completed by mid-December.

"The Joseph Cone house in North Vernon’s State Street Historic District is one of those ‘slam on the brakes’ landmarks," says Greg Sekula, director of Indiana Landmarks’ Southern Regional Office. "Its precipitous decline from several decades of neglect was painful for the community. "Out of desperation, neighbors and others sought demolition, believing the building was a lost cause. The place had been on our radar for years. The commission’s action provided the first significant opportunity for us to engage the owner in a strategy to save the house."

Using funds from the organization's Efroymson Family Endangered Places Acquisition Fund and additional dollars from a local benefactor, Indiana Landmarks is working to stabilize the building and make exterior improvements, such as rehab of the home's elaborate porch, structural repairs, work on the slate roof, interior cleanup and exterior painting.

Indiana Landmarks says once the improvements are complete, the Cone House will go on the market with preservation guidelines for further restoration work.