Historic properties workshop provides local information

Monday, March 2, 2009
Tommy Kleckner from the Historic Landmarks Foundation of Indiana looks at Shirley and Dean Schlatter's scrapbook of renovations of their log home on West Columbia Street in Greencastle. The couple attended a workshop about historic properties put on by the Heritage Preservation Society, Putnam County Museum and Putnam County Community Foundation last Saturday.

The background of Putnam County and its many historic homes were the topic of a seminar on "Historic Properties: Everything you wanted to know about the history of your house, but didn't know whom to ask," presented Saturday at the Putnam County Museum.

Tommy Kleckner from the Historic Landmarks Foundation of Indiana presented information to a packed room. The one-hour workshop addressed questions about the National Register, explained what listing a property on the register means and gave local resources for researching property.

Kleckner told the crowd it takes patience and perseverance to learn about a home or building's history.

Files may already exist in the local history collection of the community library, county museum or historical society, particularly if the home was built by a prominent family.

Among the many attendees at the seminar were Shirley and Dean Schlatter, who live in a house on Columbia Street in Greencastle that has the original logs from the home built in 1823. The current house is built around the original log home known as the old Davidson House. The couple has renovated the kitchen and lean-to and are planning more historic renovations.

"When my husband first told me we were moving into the house, I cried," said Shirley Sclatter. The couple originally bought the property for a possible retirement home and had been renting it prior to moving to it.

The Schlatters have a complete photographic record of the renovations they have made so far.

"This is an excellent idea. It's important to have this type of information to add to the history of the home," commented Kleckner.

Another homeowner is adding a garage to his property and asked if it was necessary to make the garage look like his English Tudor home.

"Is adding to my property going to hurt the integrity of my home?" he asked.

Kleckner answered, "No, because it is the building itself that is classified as historic."

"Keep in mind, you shouldn't try to make it look like the house. That is a mistake many people make," added Phil Gick with the Heritage Preservation Society.

"Restoring a home is not so much an occupation as a vocation," laughed Gick, who lives in a restored historic home.

Librarian Sue Harmon explained all the resources available at the Putnam County Library from staff to reference guides like the Interim Report. This is a list of counties surveyed by the Historic Landmarks Foundation with basic information on historic sites and structures.

"Structures can be specified not just because of the building, but because of the family or events associated with it," added Gick. "Family histories can provide information for background as well."

The event was sponsored by the Putnam County Museum, the Heritage Preservation Society and the Putnam County Community Foundation.

The mission of the Putnam County Museum is to collect, preserve and interpret the natural, historical, and cultural heritage and life of the county, and to benefit the community through education, exhibits and special programs. For information call 653-8419 or email museum2@co.putnam.in.us.

The Historic Landmarks Foundation helps people save and restore places that matter -- from the fantastically detailed West Baden Springs Hotel to a neighborhood of twentieth-century bungalows, a Main Street commercial row or an iron bridge on a county road. Visit www.historiclandmarks.org for more information.

The Heritage Preservation Society of Putnam County promotes and encourages interest in homes and their families, buildings, properties, history and heritage of the Putnam County area. Information about HPS can be found at the Chamber, Foundation, County Museum or Visitor and Convention Bureau or write to P.O. Box 163, Greencastle, IN 46135 c/o Bob Matthews.

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