Noblesville Preservation Alliance presents its 26th annual tour of historic homes
Life will soon return to a more leisurely pace as it does once every year during the Noblesville Tour of Historic Homes. This year’s tour takes place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 15 and marks its 26th year supporting the Noblesville Preservation Alliance.
During this year’s event, eight private residences and cultural sites will open their doors to visitors, including six on Noblesville’s main thoroughfare,Conner Street. The sites are primarily in theJohnstown,Midlandand Plum Prairie historical zones of significance and are within walking or biking distance from one another.
The historical research of this Vernacular style home has been challenging. Census records show Anne Dunn as one of the original residents (circa late 1800s). The home was divided into two apartments from the late 1930’s until the late 1970’s – when it was returned to a single family home.
While he has only lived in the house for two and a half years, Fogelsong has done a lot of work in a short amount of time. He added new sunroom windows and a back deck, converted the garage into a “garage bar,” added plantation shutters and remodeled the closets. He and his fiancé plan to remodel the master bath, screen in the back deck, construct a new garage and add/replace hardwood floors. The Fogelsongs love living in a historic neighborhood and are excited about all the restoration improvements being done to the older homes.
Built around 1892 by William E. and Alice Lowther (at a cost of $1,400), the Lowther/Wofford home is a Queen Anne style beauty. The stained glass features and decorative exterior trim make up some of the essential elements of this style. Although not original, the Craftsman style front porch is an alteration frequently found on homes of this age. It was considered and easy way to “update” its look in the early 20th century.
The home was occupied by the Lowthers until 1919 and the Wofford family has lived in the home since January 2011. Although Debbie and Richard don’t currently have children as permanent residents, they enjoy entertaining their four children and six grandchildren when they come to visit. They are most fond of the leaded glass front entry, high ceilings and large French doors throughout the home.
The Wilson/Norton home is aCape Codstyle, circa 1948, first owned by David Wilson. In the early 1960’s the home was sold to the Caca family who maintained ownership for at least the next 30 years.
In October 2010, the Norton family purchased the home and has been hard at work since. Some of the work completed thus far includes moving the kitchen and removing walls to improve layout, a master bedroom and bath addition, a full bath added to the basement and many exterior projects; namely the pergola, shed, landscaping, paint and driveway. John and Laura Norton have two children in college. They most enjoy the open kitchen area, their neighbors and being able to walk to downtown.
The Neal/Nickels home was built circa 1924 by Judge Noel Neal. It is a great example of theFour-SquareCraftsman style. Neal lived in the home until about 1949 with his three daughters and his wife, who taught ballet lessons in the basement. The ballet bars are still on the walls.
In the late 1940s/early ’50s, the home was sold to the McMahon Family. It remained in their possession until the Mike and Beth Nickels happily purchased it in 2005. The Nickels family has done some major exterior improvements including removing the screens and replacing the bead board ceiling on the front porch, replacing about 30 windows, adding a fresh coat of paint and a new fence and patio. Interior improvements range from repairing original wood floors, new tile around the fireplace, all new second floor bath, ceiling tiles in the foyer and much more. The second floor bath remodel began as a floor replacement project, but led to a complete demo and exposure of a deserted 3-by-5-foot bee hive in the wall.
Dr. Dittbrenner, the home’s original resident with his wife, was a prominent local dentist and was also a founder of the Noblesville Boys Club in 1951. The late 1930s home was converted and moved from a Victorian home, which facedMaple Avenue, to Cape Cod-style home that faces16th Street. Evidence in the basement only hints at the older home’s history.
The Webster’s, who have lived in the house for the past nine years, are very proud of many of the original features and all the hard work they have done on their home. They enjoy the living room mantel, the glass door knobs, the original paned windows, the red oak hardwood floors and the 1950s Chambers kitchen stove. The Webster’s gutted and enlarged the kitchen, converted the garage into a master suite, built a new garage, adapted a breezeway into a sunroom/office and added a “secret garden.”
The Orcutt/Ferraro home was built circa 1896 with William H. Orcutt as the original occupant. It is a great example of theFour-SquareCraftsman style. This Vernacular style with Italianate Styling home was a rental for many years throughout its history, and was divided into two apartments in the late 1920s. By the 1990s it had fallen into bad disrepair. Its previous owner rescued it luckily and completely renovated it, turning it back into a one family home. The home even won the Noblesville Preservation Alliance “Exterior Rehabilitation Award.”
William Ferraro has lived in this home for a year and a half and enjoys the close proximity to downtown. He has added the backyard studio and made many improvements to the landscaping and patio. His favorite feature of the home is the woodwork.
The 1899 home was originally owned by Asa and Hannah Williamson, but has been in family of current homeowners Ray and Sherry Faust since1940. The Fausts enjoy the front hallway with its staircase and leaded glass and also like the sliding doors and the oak woodwork. The house has some Queen Anne elements, but also has Arts & Crafts features, so the Fausts think it is best called eclectic.
The house is currently under renovation. The Fausts have completed new plumbing and wiring, installed a new furnace and air conditioning system, painted and done considerable structural work to the floors. While making improvements to the house, notes from the woodworkers were found on the back of the boards and an empty Piedmont Cigarette box in the floor boards had a coupon for a Gillette Safety Razor with an expiration date of June 26, 1915.
Advance tickets are $10 each (free for children under 12) and are available at Noble Coffee and Tea (933 Logan St.), the Sheriff’s Residence/Hamilton County Historical Society (810 Conner St.), A Corner Cottage (895 Conner St.), Logan Village Mall (977 Logan St.) and Mr. G’s Liquors (2209 E. Conner St.) or online at http://noblesvilletourofhistorichomes.eventbrite.com). Tickets may be purchased on the day of the tour on the grounds of the Sheriff’s Residence/Hamilton County Historical Society for $12 each.
*Information on the homes was provided by NPA.
In addition to the Tour of Homes, several special events taking place include:
• Henry Flagler Train and 521 Fire Engine visit
• See the recently renovated Judge Stone House and Stephenson House during the Nickel Plate Arts Campus Open House (107 S. Eighth St.).
• Noblesville Presbyterian Church (1207 Conner St.) will host a fundraiser selling refreshments from the church’s women’s group. Luncheon and two pipe organ concerts from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.
• See the newly restored women’s cells in the Old Jail (810 Conner St.)
• The Noblesville Rotary will provide a historical bike tour around Noblesville.
• Historical Scavenger Hunt – Perfect for kids and adults alike! Pick up a scavenger hunt flyer at Sheriff’s Residence/Hamilton County Historical Society and see if you can identify the architectural details from each home. Turn it in at your last tour stop and get a prize.