DNR honors historic preservation and archaeology standouts

Throughout this month, at various local ceremonies, the DNR will present its annual awards to recognize outstanding efforts in historic preservation and archaeology.

The awards will be presented by Beth McCord, the director of the Division of Historic Preservation & Archaeology (DHPA), and the rest of the division’s staff.

As the State Historic Preservation Office, the DHPA oversees the National Register of Historic Places in Indiana, the federally funded Historic Preservation Fund grant program, and the Reinvestment Historic Tax Credit program, and it administers programs to protect and preserve the state’s prehistoric and historical archaeological sites. The DHPA also functions as the central repository for historic structure and archaeological site records.

The following will receive the Indiana Historic Preservation Award:

PlaceWorks, LLC, for its outstanding Rehabilitation Tax Credit Project on the Benevolent & Protective Order of Elks Lodge #524 Building (Elks Building) in Madison. The Elks building is a two-story Beaux Arts Neoclassical style fraternal lodge that was built in 1904 and is located within the Madison National Historic Landmark District. In 2006, a fire severely damaged the building, resulting in loss of the roof and many of the windows, making rehabilitation of the property even more challenging. The project brought the building back to life by restoring many historic features, including replicating the original windows, and created seven market-rate housing units.

Hendricks Commercial Properties, for its outstanding Rehabilitation Tax Credit Project on the Indianapolis Coca-Cola Bottling Plant Complex in Indianapolis. The bottling plant is a complex of four functionally related buildings constructed from 1930 to the 1950s in the Art Deco style. The property had amazing integrity of historic materials and design, both interior and exterior, at the start of the project, and Hendricks maintained the significant historic features and finishes while repurposing the property. The project included the rehabilitation of all four buildings, more than 500,000 square feet of space at completion. The main building houses a boutique hotel and retail space. Garage 1 is now home to an entertainment/restaurant venue, and garages 2 & 3 were connected and now operate as a food hall.

Broady-Campbell, Inc., for its outstanding terra cotta restoration as part of the Rehabilitation Tax Credit Project for the Indianapolis Coca-Cola Bottling Plant Complex in Indianapolis. The bottling plant is a complex of four functionally related buildings constructed from 1930 to the 1950s in the Art Deco style with most of the exterior walls clad in terra cotta. At the start of the project, a large portion of the terra cotta was damaged with significant spalling, crazing (hairline cracks in the glaze), and cracking of the units. The finished product is so seamless that it is nearly impossible to find the terra cotta repairs on the building.

The Jasper Newton Foundation, Inc., will receive the Outstanding Grant-Assisted Rehabilitation Award for rehabilitation of all the original wooden windows in the former Rensselaer Carnegie Library. Opened in 1905, this library building served the public for nearly 90 years until the county constructed a new library. After its closure, a gift from the Lilly Foundation enabled the rehabilitation of the building to become the permanent home of the Jasper Newton Foundation and the Prairie Arts Council. Since 1999, the building has functioned as a community art gallery and office space. The building contains 43 window openings, with 11 pairs of large double-hung windows, topped by classical Roman spoke transoms, which allowed natural light into the library’s book stacks and reading room area on the main floor. The project restored major character-defining features of this building, improved weatherization, reduced utility costs, and improved aesthetics by returning the windows to a historically appropriate color. The Jasper Newton Foundation received a $50,000 grant from the federal Historic Preservation Fund of the U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service, which was administered for Indiana by the DHPA. The federal funds were matched with nearly $61,000 from the foundation.

The Heritage Preservation Society of Putnam County will receive an Indiana Historic Preservation Award in recognition of its efforts to recognize and preserve historic resources. From 2011 to 2020, the county’s districts that were listed in the National Register of Historic Places through the Society’s efforts included Northwood Historic District, Eastern Enlargement Historic District, and Old Greencastle Historic District, all in Greencastle; Cloverdale Historic District; Bainbridge Historic District; Russellville Historic District; and Roachdale Historic District. The Society received a Historic Preservation Fund Grant in 2010 to assist with the Greencastle districts and again in 2016 to help fund restoration and maintenance of the Putnam County Civil War Memorial Monument in Forest Hill Cemetery in Greencastle. The district nominations added more than 850 historic resources to the National Register, making them eligible to apply for financial incentives such as tax credits and grants.

The Beauchamp family will receive an Indiana Historic Preservation Award for their efforts to preserve the 13-24 Drive-In Movie Theater in Wabash. Constructed from 1949-1951 by Truman Rembusch, the 13-24 was purchased by the family in 2011. Under their stewardship, and in partnership with the Honeywell Foundation, the original marquee has been restored to its bright, neon glory, and movies continue to be shown on the big screen all summer. This year, the 13-24 became the first drive-in theater in Indiana to get listed on the National Register of Historic Places.