Preservation group acquires 6 historic homes in Indiana city

WABASH, Ind. (AP) — A preservation group plans to renovate the exteriors of six run-down homes in a northern Indiana city and put them on the market next year in hopes of spurring a historic neighborhood’s rebirth.

Indiana Landmarks said it acquired the historic homes, built in Wabash between the 1870s and the early 1900s, during an auction. The Indianapolis-based nonprofit said the homes illustrate a range of architectural styles in the city’s East Wabash Historic District.

“There truly is something for everybody, from a modest, wood-frame house to larger Victorians. It’s a mad mix of styles and sizes,” said Paul Hayden, director of Indiana Landmarks’ northwest office in Wabash.

Hayden will lead the renovation of the homes’ exteriors and the effort to put them back on the market in early 2021. The properties recently served as rental housing, and most were divided into apartments.

Wabash has a vibrant downtown, including a variety of shops and restaurants and historic entertainment venues including the Honeywell Center and recently restored Eagles Theatre.

But options for homebuyers in the Wabash County seat located along the Wabash River about 80 miles (129 kilometers) north of Indianapolis, have been limited, particularly for those seeking historic houses.

“When restored, these houses will be in high demand,” said Dave Haist, an Indiana Landmarks board member who lives in the neighborhood, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

“By improving a cluster of homes in a two- to three-block area, there’s really an opportunity to transform the neighborhood,” he said.

The homes’ purchase and the work to rehab their exteriors is expected to total $770,000. That’s being funded by Indiana Landmarks, the city of Wabash, and donations from private individuals and organizations.

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