GEORGETOWN — The restoration of a historic building will play an important role in the revitalization of downtown Georgetown.

Renovations are underway at the Wolfe Hotel building at 9150 Ind. 64. John Beams, executive director of Destination Georgetown, said the transformation will be a “centerpiece” in the town’s historic district.

The main street organization is helping the owners Tam Le and Hannah Nguyen complete the renovation project. The structure was built in 1835, and in the 1860s, it was a stop for stagecoach passengers to rest on their way through the town, Beams said.

The owners and Destination Georgetown have contracted architect Ron Stiller to complete an assessment and design plan for the historic structure, which is supported with a $2,500 grant from Indiana Landmarks.

The owners also received a $5,000 facade grant from the Georgetown Redevelopment Commission to support the restoration. Some exterior work on the building was recently completed, including priming of the walls. The stabilization of the building’s foundation will be one of the next steps.

One of the possible uses for the building is an Airbnb rental, but it could also include retail space or a business incubator, Beams said. He hopes to see the project completed by the end of 2022.

Le said when they bought the building a few years ago, the original plan was to tear it down to make way for new construction, but Beams inspired them to preserve the historic structure.

“This one is different, and we’re trying to preserve as much as possible for the building and make repairs,” Le said. “We feel like Georgetown is a small town that is doing a lot of things. A few years ago in New Albany, there was not much stuff around, but now there is stuff everywhere. We think Georgetown is going to come up also.”

A number of other revitalization projects are occurring in the town, including the renovation of the historic bank building, just a few doors down from the Wolfe Hotel. The building at 9110 Ind. 64 is being converted into a butcher shop and deli called The Georgetown Butcher. The town has also invested in downtown parking additions and improvements to the Georgetown Park.

“We’ll have more points of interest for tourism and lodging and things of that nature,” Beams said.

Greg Sekula, southern regional director of Indiana Landmarks, said the Wolfe Hotel is one of the oldest and most significant structures in Georgetown’s historic district.

“It is a building that has been long vacant and in need of a facelift,” he said.

The building features Federal-style architecture, and Sekula notes that many original features of the Wolfe Hotel remain, including the windows, doors, staircase and interior trim.

“It is a very intact Federal-style building, which is kind of a rare survivor in this day and age,” he said.

Beams said the building’s interior includes “high ceilings and good woodwork.”

“A lot of the original [features] they will refinish and put back in place,” he said. “There are good beams, and the flooring is great. There’s a few spots that will have to be replaced.”

Floyd County Historian Dave Barksdale appreciates the preservation of the historic landmark, saying buildings such as the Wolfe Hotel tell the story of Floyd County’s past, and “we don’t want to lose parts of that story.”

“What is a better way to tell a story than through a building — I’m very pleased there’s going to be some restoration,” he said.

Chris Loop, president of the Georgetown Town Council, said the restoration of the former hotel is a major piece of the town’s redevelopment plan.

“We realize that in order for that redevelopment plan to be successful — especially with plans happening at the Georgetown bank soon to be transformed into a butcher shop — it’s really going to be important for [the Wolfe Hotel] structure to be brought back,” Loop said.

“It’s basically time for something to happen with it — for people to take the revitalization efforts in downtown seriously, we have to show we can rehabilitate that structure,” he said.

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