Everything old is new again

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GREENFIELD — Cassi Vanderpool lives in a one-story ranch home, but she has driven by the Barnes House at 224 N. Pennsylvania for years and wondered what it looked like on the inside. Now, thanks to Greenfield Historic Landmarks’ home tour, she will finally have that chance.

“People have a natural curiosity about the homes of others,” said Vanderpool, secretary of the Greenfield Historic Landmarks board of directors. “This is the legal way to see inside of these homes you drive by every day.”

After a 36-year absence, the Historic Home Tour returns to Greenfield on Oct. 14. Five homes, including the James Whitcomb Riley Boyhood Home, will be open to the public from 1 to 4 p.m.

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Guided by a mission statement that encourages educating the public about Hancock County’s architectural heritage and working to preserve it. Greenfield Historic Landmarks’ board president Cathleen Huffman said she believes that a home tour will help residents appreciate Hancock County’s historic architecture.

“It’s been proven that when you preserve and restore the historic places,” said board member Gwen Betor, “it adds to the quality of life. It shows that you care about your town.”

Greenfield Historic Landmarks vice president Lee Kingery has lived in Greenfield all his life and has always had an appreciation for the older houses.

“Part of it may be their uniqueness,” Kingery said. “We for sure aren’t building them like we used to. A lot of our remaining homes in the 150-years-or-older category were custom designed for the families that built them, and they were built in an era that valued architectural distinctiveness more than we do today.”

Kingery and his wife Julie live in an old house on Wood Street. The house, which had been sectioned off into apartments, needed a lot of work.

“The home tour is a way to connect with other people in the old house world,” he said.

As one of the organizers, Kingery will be stationed in the Spencer House, now the Banks-Holloway house, at 22 N. Pennsylvania St.

Vanderpool is assigned to the Barnes House at 224 N. Pennsylvania. Although she has no personal connection to the home, she knows that the current owners put forth a huge effort to try and make the house more livable with some major renovations. Other than a fascination with historic homes, Vanderpool has no previous experience with preservation and restoration. She said she feels a lot more could be done to call attention to Greenfield and to preserve the assets of the community. A home tour is a step in the right direction, she said.

The committee left it up to each homeowner as to how much of their homes they would make available to the tour.

The Banks-Holloway home has two floors and a walk-up attic, but Kingery isn’t sure how much of that space will be open to the public.

Funds raised from the event will go to support Greenfield Historic Landmarks’ mission — to preserve and remember the architectural heritage of Greenfield and Hancock County.

There are lots of communities of Greenfield’s size and age — with homes from the 1920s and older,” Kingery said. “Once they’re torn down, there’s no replacing them.”

Home tour tickets are available for $10 in advance at greenfieldlandmarks.org/events, Cynthia’s Hallmark (1584 N. State St.) the Riley Boyhood Home (250 W. Main St.) and during the Riley Festival at the Twenty North Gallery (20 N. State St.). Tickets are $12 the day of the event and available at any of the homes along the tour.

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Greenfield Historic Landmarks’ Home Tour

Oct. 14, 1 to 3 p.m.

Tickets are $10 in advance at greenfieldlandmarks.org/events, Cynthia’s Hallmark (1584 N. State St.) the Riley Boyhood Home (250 W. Main St.) and during the Riley Festival at the Twenty North Gallery (20 N. State St.).

Tickets are $12 the day of the event and can be purchased at any of the homes along the tour. 

The homes on the tour are:

James Whitcomb Riley Boyhood Home

250 West Main Street

Banks-Holloway House

22 North Pennsylvania Street

Barnes House

224 North Pennsylvania Street

Boyd-Strickland House

202 West 5th Street

New-Gradowski House

117 Grant Street

The homes on the tour can be visited in any order.

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