LOCATION New Albany, Ind. (five miles from Louisville, Ky.)
PROGRAM Completely rehabilitate a large, historic house damaged by fire, preserving and restoring elements to the full extent possible while creating meeting and office space for Indiana Landmarks and tenants.
RESTORATION ARCHITECT Ronald Stiller AIA, RCS + Associates, Floyds Knobs, IN: (812) 923-1019
The Queen Anne house was completed in 1899 for New Albany’s prominent businessman and benefactor Louis N. Hartman (1838–1917) and his third wife, Annie Katherine “Katie” Kunz. With its distinctive corner tower, it is believed to be a pattern-book plan by the Knoxville, Tennessee, architect George F. Barber. The house contains a profusion of oak, cherry, and butternut woodwork, parquet floors, and stained and beveled glass. The second floor’s walnut and oak flooring squares were manufactured by New Albany’s Wood Mosaic Company. Woodwork may have been milled at the Oak Street Planing Mill owned by Philip Schneider, father of Annie Katherine Kunz.
Hartman was a German immigrant active in the Methodist church. While wealthy owners were by then building on Main Street, he chose to build on the site of his original family home, in a segregated neighborhood. Local tradition and his obituaries maintain that Hartman was a lifelong advocate for African–Americans struggling in the post-Reconstruction era.
The house remained in the Hartman family until the early 1960s. For a short time, it was used as a men’s boardinghouse. Sold again the 1970s, the house became a funeral home catering to the African–American community; that business closed in 2009. In January of 2017, an early-morning fire damaged the building, and demolition was threatened. After intense negotiations, Indiana Landmarks purchased the house in August of that year, to embark on an extensive rehabilitation. This would become the new home of the Southern Regional Office.
After meticulous restoration, the front parlor became a reception room, the dining room is now a conference room, and the former library is a meeting room. A kitchen and a period-sensitive, ADA-compliant bathroom were installed.
The second floor has four offices in former bedrooms, as well as a copy room, storage closets, and a second bath. The third floor holds an office and attic space used for storage. To help carry the building, some offices are leased to business tenants, who may use the public rooms and parking lot behind the house.
The project cost approximately $650,000. Half of the financing came from the sale of the previous office, and was augmented by grants from private foundations and donors, along with the City of New Albany through its redevelopment commission. Descendants of the original owners, as well as the local community, have been tremendously supportive.
Our former home was also an at-risk historic building that we rehabbed. The hope is that by restoring ailing landmarks, we inspire investment in the neighborhoods. It works!
Inside, contractor Danny James stripped and restored all the original woodwork that survived the fire—white oak, cherry, and butternut, Much of it had been pulled from the walls and was headed for salvage yards. Werncke Construction put the woodwork back into place like “a giant jigsaw puzzle.” Floorboards from the attic were used to replace damaged areas. The project also returned the parquet floors and the butternut staircase to their original splendor.
Indiana Landmarks, Southern Regional Office, New Albany, IN: indianalandmarks.org
architect Ronald Stiller AIA, RCS + Associates, Floyds Knobs, IN (812) 923-1019
general contractor Garrett’s Construction, Louisville, KY, area (502) 657-8199
woodwork reconstruction Werncke Construction, Greenville, IN wernckeconstruction.com
glass restoration Kaleidoscope Stained Glass, Georgetown, IN: (812) 951-2328 • Rhonda Deeg, RLD Glass Art & Restoration (812) 292-6334, preservationrho.wixsite.com/rld-glass-art
faux graining Mary Margaret Trinkle, Monarch Studio, New Albany, IN (502) 759-0099
victorian lighting House of Antique Hardware houseofantiquehardware.com Vintage Hardware & Lighting vintagehardware.com
ada-compliant fixtures Mark E. Industries goofproofshowers.com Shower installation products
woodwork refinishing Howard Products howardproducts.com Wood & furniture restoration & finishing products