Historic Pritchett house to receive facelift

Saturday, October 1, 2011
Tim and Kim Shinn of Greencastle recently purchased the historic Pritchett home at 9 E. Poplar St. They plan on remodeling the entire house, while still keeping it within the historic period in which it was built.

The David Carl Pritchett house will soon be receiving a new facelift.

The home at 9 E. Poplar St., Greencastle, which was purchased at auction by Kim and Tim Shinn on Sept. 22, will retain its historic feel both inside and out but with a newer feel, the new owners say.

The couple started buying and renovating area homes 34 years ago. The Pritchett property will be the 20th home the couple has worked on, most of which were older homes, including their own residence on East Washington Street.

Three months ago the Shinns were first approached about purchasing the home. At the time the couple had no intention of buying it, and felt they didn't want to take on another project.

But after several times driving past it, they decided they had to have it.

"We thoroughly enjoy the old homes," Tim Shinn said. "After living in one, you'll never want to live in a modern house again."

The house, which is a Queen Anne-style home built in 1887, has some special meaning for Tim, who passed the house many times as a kid and knew the family who used to live there.

Although to Tim, back then it was just seen as a big old house, now such homes are viewed as endless possibilities with hidden treasures.

"It's one of those properties you sit back and admire," Kim said of the residence also known over the years as the Old Doc Zaring Home and the Marie Aker House.

The couple does not plan to remove anything from the home. They simply wish to restore it. They plan on doing most of the work themselves although, they will hire workmen for certain items such as plumbing, heating and cooling.

"This house has a good set of bones," explained Tim. "This house is probably the one that has the most charm."

One of the most exciting things for the couple about old homes is the treasures they often find. The couple has already uncovered an old crate that was under a floorboard in the attic, which has the original inscription on it from the original owners. They are sure to find more treasures throughout the house as they begin working.

They have also taken the necessary steps to register the home with the Indiana Landmarks Association and the National Historic Register. That will allow the home not only to be recognized as a landmark but also prevent it from ever being demolished.

"We want to restore the integrity of the home," said Kim. "It's protected, it's not going to be demolished for no reason whatsoever."

The home features such things as pocket and leading glass French interior doors, as well as a hand-carved oak leaf buffet. All of the hardware and windows in the home are still in good working condition. Besides some small termite damage, all the house needs is tender loving care, the Shinns believe.

It is their hope to turn the property into two high-end rental apartments. They are also open to the idea of renting it to businesses such as an art gallery.

"We've got our work cut out for us," Kim admitted. "Whenever we start a home we're on it until it's done."

The couple already have people ready to work on the house. They plan on working on the outside of the home first, and then moving inside as it gets colder. It's their hope to have the house up and running by February or March.

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  • Bless the Shinns for restoring so many old houses, but I'm very surprised they don't realize that getting a building listed in the National Register of Historic Places will NOT protect it and keep it from being demolished. I only wish that were true!

    However, establishing protective covenants may help; for that, seek the advice of Indiana Landmarks.

    -- Posted by publichistorian on Fri, Oct 7, 2011, at 11:05 AM
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