NEW ALBANY — On Saturday, tour-goers will receive a glimpse into the past — in addition to new possibilities — as 10 historic buildings in New Albany open their doors to attendees at an annual event.
Develop New Albany and Indiana Landmarks will present the 14th Annual New Albany Historic Homes Tour from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. During the ticketed event, attendees can go inside the buildings to learn about their histories and restorations.
Dave Barksdale, Floyd County historian and co-chair of the tour committee, said the buildings featured on the tour "run the gamut," from a church transformed into a stained glass gallery to 19th-century mansions where people continue to live.
He said the structures range from mid to late 19th century buildings to a mid-century modern home from the 1950s. The tour also includes a variety of architectural styles, including Queen Anne, Italianate and Gothic.
Barksdale said he looks forward to introducing people to these historic neighborhoods and get them excited about the history of New Albany.
"If you're from New Albany, you're kind of rediscovering your town," he said. "If you're not from New Albany, maybe it will spark some interest in coming to New Albany or having a home here. We were doing these tours 14 years ago when our downtown was really struggling, and we actually had some downtown buildings on some of the first tours showing people what was out there and some of the possibilities."
Most of the buildings are brand new to this year's tour. The Culbertson Mansion has been featured on the tour several times in the past, and they are including the historic home again to recognize its 150th anniversary.
"A state historic site — that means quite a bit to the city," Barksdale said. "That's preservation at its finest. The Culbertson Mansion brings in numerous people from I guess all ends of the state and further than that. When they're here, they enjoy the architecture of Main Street and hopefully downtown and the other streets around it."
The Charles and Henrietta Richards House at 844 Cedar Bough Place, which was built in 1906, was also featured on the tour about 12 years ago, but it has since been restored — those who were on the tour 12 years ago probably won't recognize it, he said.
Some of the homes might be completely unfamiliar to the tour's attendees. For example, the William & Sarah Houpt House on 174 Jackson St. is a mansion, but it is probably unknown to many people besides those who live in that neighborhood, Barksdale said. At the time it was built in 1893, it was likely visible from State Street.
The tour is completely self-guided, so people can go at their own pace, he said.
"You can run through each house and get it over in an hour an a half, or if you want, you can spend a day from 10 until 5 — it's up to them," Barksdale said. "We always try to encourage them to come downtown for lunch, and then touring again, and who knows, maybe even stay for dinner downtown. We want people to be aware of what's going on."
He said he hears positive comments from tour-goers each year, and their feedback shows homeowners feel that "all their hard work in restoration and preservation is paying off." About half of the buildings featured on the tour currently serve as residences.
"[People] will just come and tell us how wonderful the tour was, and also, the homeowners get some really good feedback from the tour-goers — I think it is a great thing when you have all these people telling how much they appreciate it," he said. "It's just some great people who come on the tour who really appreciate the houses and the owners opening up their doors."
Many of the historic homes now serve different purposes. For example, the Kunz Hartman House at 911 State St. survived the 1917 tornado that hit the city, as well as a January 2017 fire. It was home to Baity Funeral Home from the 1970s to 2012, and following a 20-month restoration, it became Indiana Landmarks' Southern Regional Office this year.
Gina Kleinhelter, who owns the Kleinhelter Gallery with her husband, Ray, said they are delighted and honored that the building is featured on the tour. The building, also known as the Peter Weinmann Building, is located at 701 E. Eighth St., and it was built in 1858. The dilapidated tavern was converted into an art gallery after years of renovations and opened in March. Their two adult children also live in the apartments upstairs.
The home tour shows that an older home doesn't just have to be "renovated to within an inch of its life — it can take on a new life of its own," she said.
The German Methodist Episcopal Church —now The Stained Glass Gallery— at 416 E. Spring St., is another of the buildings on the Historic Homes Tour. The church was built in 1890 and was home to many congregations, including the German Methodist Episcopal Church and the Calvary Methodist Church. In 2013, co-owners Donna Baldacci and Kirk Richmond moved their stained glass gallery into the space, and they completed a major restoration of the building's exterior last year.
They also received many of the Calvary's original church furnishings this year, which are now on display. Baldacci looks forward to sharing the history of the building with attendees on Saturday's tour.
"We've done a lot of research on [the church] and its humble beginnings," she said. "It's really wonderful that there's such an interest in New Albany in general and its historic offerings and buildings," she said. "So we wanted to be part of that, because we certainly do love this church. It's stunningly beautiful, and it's in remarkable condition given her age. We're just glad that it never got destroyed or boarded up or taken by weather or Mother Nature, and it is still standing today and is beautiful."
IF YOU GO
Tour begins at the New Albany Farmers Market at the corner of Bank and Market streets. Attendees need to pick up their tour booklet from this location before 3 p.m.
Tickets available for $20 in advance and $25 day of the tour. Advance tickets sales with cash or check are available at Sew Fitting, Strandz & Threadz, Dress & Dwell, YMCA, Adrienne & Co., Madhouse, 410 Bakery, DADA, Wicks Pizza, Seeds and Greens, and the Develop New Albany Office. Tickets are also available online at www.developnewalbany.org
BUILDINGS FEATURED ON TOUR:
Edward & Callie Flocken House - 419 East Market Street
German Methodist Episcopal Church (the Stained Glass Gallery) - 416 East Spring Street
Culbertson Mansion State Historic Site - 914 East Main Street
Jewett-Gordon House - 1501 East Main Street
Charles & Henrietta Richards House - 844 Cedar Bough Place
Peter Weinmann House - 701-703 East 8th Street
Kunz Hartman House (Southern Regional Office of Indiana Landmarks) - 911 State Street
William & Sarah Houpt House - 174 Jackson Street
Edgemont Cottage - 1316 Adams Street
(11) Harry Elsby & Mary Ann Carnighan House (home of the Silver Hills Historical Society collection) - 1505 Adams Street