Historic home receives interim protection


The Carmel Historic Preservation Commission voted unanimously Jan. 16 to grant interim protection for a 180-year-old home in Carmel that appeared to be threatened now that a buyer who vowed to preserve the home has backed out.

Beazer Homes withdrew its proposal Jan. 8 to build 119 empty-nester homes for a 55-and-older community at Keystone Parkway and 136th Street. Some neighbors opposed the project, which was called The Reserve at Cool Creek. As a result, Beazer was concerned the council might not approve it.

Beazer had previously reached a deal with Indiana Landmarks to preserve one of the oldest homes in Carmel on the land Beazer was going to purchase. The home at 2724 E. 136th St. is on land originally deeded to William Wilkinson in 1822. The Hull family was the home’s residents.

“The original owners were the pioneers of Carmel itself,” said Emily Ehrgott, executive director of the Carmel Clay Historical Society.

The descendants, the Brennans, have inherited the house. They plan to sell it and have no plans to renovate.

Carmel city councilor Ron Carter, a CHPC board member, said the goal is to create a local historic preservation district to help preserve the home, which requires council approval.

In the meantime, the CHPC board expressed concern that the Brennan family could demolish the structure and sell the land to a new buyer.

“The most important thing right how is that we get interim protection so it doesn’t get bulldozed,” Carter said.

In the CHPC board meeting there was discussion about making an access road available to the historic house. CHPC designated 3 acres around the structure for protection because it’s part of the same parcel. The purpose is to provide a larger buffer than Beazer’s proposal for saving the property.

Mark Dollase of Indiana Landmarks said his organization had promised to invest six figures to restore the house, but that deal is now off. He said he hopes the organization could give the money to someone who wants to purchase and renovate the property, but Indiana Landmarks doesn’t have the money to purchase the house at asking price.

How the property will be used is unknown. Someone could still turn the home into a residence, or it could be part of a larger purchase for the entire 56-plus acres to develop homes. A developer could decide to keep the house as part of green space required for a planned unit development.