By DANIEL SUDDEATH
> SOUTHERN INDIANA —
Once it’s gone, it’s gone, and that’s why preservations say they fight so hard to protect historic structures in communities.
May is Preservation Month in Indiana, and there’s a schedule full of activities related to the historic charms of Southern Indiana for the public to attend.
“Preservation Month is a time to bring awareness to the public about the important role that places have in our lives,” said Greg Sekula, southern regional director for Indiana Landmarks. “We often take for granted the environment around us and it’s not until something disappears from our landscape that we sometimes recognize the value that it has.”
The value is not just in protecting the past, but in saving those properties and structures to be utilized in the future, Floyd County Historian David Barksdale said.
“I think we can attribute a lot of New Albany’s downtown success to the preservation of buildings and the building stock that we have,” he said. “There’s also the historic neighborhoods that we have adjoining the downtown, and we have younger people moving in wanting to restore these historic structures.”
From the shotgun houses that line Culbertson Avenue and Elm Street to Mansion Row along Main Street, Barksdale said homes with history behind them add character to the community and are important to preserve.
Preservation Month is also about protecting public places such as schools, and educating people about why history matters. Here’s a list of events planned for Floyd and Clark Counties in May.
SUNDAY, MAY 4: PADGETT MUSEUM BRUNCH
The annual brunch benefits the Floyd County Historical Society’s Padgett Museum, which is located at 509 W. Market St. in New Albany.
The cost is $15 for adults and $7.50 for children, and the brunch will be prepared by PattiCakes Catering. The event will run from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the museum, and tickets can be purchased at the door.
MAY 7: NEW ALBANY’S HOMEPLACE
The history of the Scribner House — which was built in 1814 for Joel Scribner — will be detailed during this presentation.
During the presentation, architect Ron Stiller will discuss the ongoing restoration of the building, and tours of the house will be offered.
The presentation will be held in the multipurpose room of the Floyd County branch of the YMCA of Southern Indiana, which is adjacent to the Scribner House.
The event is free and begins at 6 p.m.
MAY 14: BREAKING NEW GROUND
Christopher Moore and Rebecca Van Sessen of the University of Indianapolis will host a workshop focusing on Floyd County archaeology titled Breaking New Ground.
Moore and Van Sessen will discuss an archeological survey they’re planning for Floyd County, as well as talk about how the science helps support preservation efforts.
The event is free and will be held from 6 to 8:30 p.m. in the Strassweg Auditorium of the New Albany-Floyd County Public Library. The event is sponsored by the Falls of the Ohio Archaeological Society and the New Albany Historic Preservation Commission.
MAY 17: DIVISION STREET DIG
The Falls of the Ohio Archaeological Society will oversee an archaeological dig at the historic Division Street School in New Albany during this event.
Volunteers will be able to learn the basics of archaeology and take part in the dig at the school. Volunteers are asked to bring water, sunscreen and a hat, and children must be supervised to attend. Tools will be provided.
The event will run from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the school, which is located at 1800 Conservative St., and the dig is free to attend.
MAY 20: PIZZA AND PRESERVATION
Historians and researchers will help property owners track down their home’s past while enjoying a slice or two of pizza during this free event.
The program is designed for historic property owners, as they will learn how to utilize the NA-FC Public Library’s Indiana Room to research the history of their land and homes.
Floyd County Historian David Barksdale will lead the program, which will be held from 6 to 8:30 p.m. The event is limited to 20 participants, and registration is required by calling 812-284-4534, or through e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
MAY 21: FACELIFT AWARDS
The New Albany Historic Preservation Commission’s annual Facelift Awards will be handed out during a 6 p.m. program.
The awards are given to home and business owners who have completed preservation projects on their properties. It will be held on the third floor of the City-County Building, 311 Hauss Square, New Albany, and a regular meeting of the commission will follow at 7 p.m.
MAY 24: SCRIBNER HOUSE/MANSION ROW TOURS
The Scribner House will again be available for free tours from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on this date.
Then, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., people are invited to take a free tour of New Albany’s historic Mansion Row along East Main Street.
The Mansion Row tour will be led by Dave Condra. Participants are asked to meet at the southeast corner of State and Main Streets.
MAY 27: SYMBOL OF FREEDOM
The history and ongoing restoration project for Town Clock Church in New Albany will be detailed during this free presentation, which will be held during the monthly meeting of the Floyd County Historical Society.
Friends of the Town Clock Church, the city of New Albany and other organizations have partnered to provide funding to restore the building, which was a link in the Underground Railroad.
Speakers will include Pam Peters, Irv Stumler and Alice Miles, and the event will begin at 7 p.m. in the Strassweg Auditorium of the NA-FC Public Library.
MAY 30: JEFFERSONVILLE WALKING TOURS
The first in what planners hope will be a monthly series of walking tours of historic neighborhoods will be held by Clark County Historian Jeanne Burke in Jeffersonville.
The tour will be held from 6 to 7:30 p.m., though the exact location is still to be determined. For more information, visit the website jeffmainstreet.org