Celebrated history: Preservation alliance members prep for 33rd annual home tour


For Ken and Nancy Hebel, this will be the first year their 1873 home has been featured on the Noblesville Preservation Alliance’s annual Historic Home Tour.

The Hebels have lived in the red 2,500-square-foot Gabel/Ell-style home for 7 1/2 years after moving from a subdivision near Eagle Creek.

The 33rd annual tour is Sept. 21 and features historically significant homes on Cherry, Maple and Conner streets.

Nancy is the NPA’s president and Ken is a member of the nonprofit that aims to preserve historic properties in the city and save those at risk.

“This year’s tour is very cool in that it’s more condensed,” Ken said. “We have seven homes right here on Cherry Street, and about seven of the 11 homes featured have not been on the tour before. We’ve worked on the tour for years, and there’s never been any issue at all, but when the house was featured on the (NPA Holiday Home Tour), I was a little apprehensive to have people in my home, but people were just wonderful, and it felt like having your friends over.”

The NPA works with homeowners in downtown Noblesville to let the general public tour private residences, giving an inside look at the architecture and other features of homes typically built near the turn of the 20th century. The Hebels’ home is the oldest on the tour, followed closely by the Sheriff’s Residence and Jail at 810 Conner St., which was built in 1875 and serves as the headquarters for tickets and brochures the day of the tour.

“Our house was not exactly like it is today when it was built,” Nancy said. “The first owner came home from the Civil War, kept working on his family’s farm and then bought land and had the house built for his new bride. They (Peter and Eliza Paulsel) lived here from 1873 until 1922.”

“He actually died in 1905 when he got run over by a fire wagon, drawn by horse and buggy in downtown Indianapolis, but his wife stayed here until (her death in) 1922,” Ken said. “First Presbyterian Church bought it and used it as their parsonage. The pastors lived here for the next 25 years.”

Other notable people have lived in featured homes, including three doctors, a well-known librarian, a long-time editor of the Noblesville Daily Ledger and the first female member of the Noblesville School Board. Because of their proximity, approximately half of the homes on the tour were owned by people who owned shops on the downtown square.

“We’re really making an effort to group homes each year so they’re not all over town,” Ken said. “Last year, we went north of Conner. This year, we’re going south of Conner, and next year we’re going northwest on North Ninth, 10th and 11th streets, and the following year will be South Ninth, 10th and 11th. That way, we think it will be more walkable.”

“Most of the people who live in Old Town are so proud of their homes, and it’s fun to see the progress people are making,” Nancy said. “Our house is basically done, but some houses may have been in disrepair and families have spent years working on them.”

On the day of the tour, a trolley will make stops through downtown, and First Presbyterian Church’s youth group will offer a lunch. Home tour tickets are $15 in advance and $18 the day of the event. The tour is from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For tickets, visit noblesvillepreservation.com.

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