The Paper
Crawfordsville has a new resident . . . sort of. Joshua Baxter, a 47-year-old entrepreneur, recently bought the large brick building adjacent to the train depot and police station at the corner of North and Green streets.
What’s next?
Good question.
“Everybody says, ‘what’s it going to be?’ The short answer is I don’t know.” Baxter told The Paper. “We’re going to give it love and be a caretaker for a while. It’s probably going to outlive me. At this point, in my mind, it’s going to be artists’ lofts.”
But don’t count on that just yet.
“I thought the first floor could be shared makers’ space and the top floors could be residential,” Baxter went on. “After I got in there I have these wild aspirations of a New York-style loft. I have convinced my wife to kind of consider the top floor as our retirement home.”
Baxter is an interesting guy. He’s an entrepreneur and free spirit in every sense of the word. He grew up in Lawrence and started his first business at the age of 13. After high school he went to college, but didn’t stay. His sidelights were doing so well, that he went to work – for himself – full time. One of his companies, Here to There Movers, became his self-described bread and butter. It’s done well for him over the years, and still exists today.
“I stopped going out on the moving trucks 10 years ago,” Baxter said. “Now, I just run the company.”
It’s also a company that offers a treasure hunt. Yes, a treasure hunt.
Baxter has buried five one ounce gold coins somewhere in Indiana and is using the entire state as the game board, if you will. Go to www.heretotheremovers.com and click on treasure hunt to find out more
“I have about 150 players in the entire state,” he explained. “Why am I doing this? I’m bored.”
After talking to him for any amount of time, the casual observer finds he doesn’t stay bored for long -- as in this latest purchase.
“We really don’t know the direction the building is going,” he said. “I have some ideas. The building lends itself to so many options. But once you choose one direction, you give up all the other options.
“I’ve been looking for a project like this for 10 years.”
How’s that?
“I’ve not had the time or space to do some of the things I like – like working on my sculptures,” Baxter said. “Well, this building has the space to let me do that. I just hope I don’t run out of money,” he added with a chuckle.
“I admit that every bit of my real estate experience up to now I answered to no one but my wallet. But this is different. That makes it probably a two or three year project. I plan to be here three days a week, on average, shovel in hand. Measuring, planning.”
When asked how he would describe himself, or his occupation, he thought about it for a moment.
“There are the Elon Musks of the world who, while everybody says it can’t be done, he’s doing it,” he said. “The schedule is my timetable; I’m not getting loans. I’m writing checks. I have lived very frugal all these years. Instead of buying my wife a ring, I bought her a little one-bedroom, fixer-upper. I have a history of biting off more than I can chew. I bought my first piece of real estate at 19 years old. I have always stretched and put every penny into a deal. I do a lot of the work. You hear about those people who live in one room while they work on the rest? I have done that several times.”
How did Baxter find this property? Like most things with him, it’s an interesting story.
“I have a bunch of property that I have bought and fixed up as part of an investment package for myself and my family,” he explained. “As my son has gotten older he wants to get into real estate and I challenged him to find something that he could make his project. He found four. I want something that’s not just about dollars and cents,” Baxter continued. “I want something that will challenge us that will mean something. “
They may have found it at the end of Green Street.