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July 8, 2020

6/24/2020 1:49:00 PM
NV founder family home to be featured in home & garden tour
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Above images demonstrate a stark contrast between what the historic Tripp-Guthrie house looked like before and after Daniel’s renovation.—Submitted photos.
+ click to enlarge
Above images demonstrate a stark contrast between what the historic Tripp-Guthrie house looked like before and after Daniel’s renovation.
—Submitted photos.
Kylan Higgs

The old Tripp-Guthrie family home on Jennings Street will be open to the public for the very first time in the Jennings County Historical Society Town & Country Home & Gardens Tour taking place on June 27 and 28.

In August 2019, 25-year-old Daniel Smith of North Vernon fulfilled his dream of purchasing a local historic home.

"Growing up as a kid, I always wanted to buy a home on Jennings Street," Daniel said. He grew up in an old home in Vernon and is passionate about preserving the local history.

"People my age don't really want to see these homes last, but it's our responsibility to showcase the history."

Jennings Street is lined with elegant old homes, many of which were--and still are-owned by some of the wealthiest North Vernon residents. And the Tripp house itself is a treasure trove of yesteryear intrigue and design.

Daniel found several relics when he first began exploring his recently-acquired residence, including an old photo of the exterior of the home taken in the 1800's and letters to Ernest Tripp, the original owner whose father founded North Vernon-fun fact: Tripton was the original name of the town of North Vernon!

The house was a wedding gift to Ernest's daughter. For the next two generations, the house was passed down until Ernest's great-grandson, Greg Guthrie, sold it to Daniel, the first person outside of the Tripp family to own the home.

Though the relics Daniel found within the home were in perfect condition, the house itself was not.

Renovations for the home took ten months to complete. All new plumbing, electric, hardwood floors (lower level), exterior and interior paint, and a brand-new kitchen had to be installed. Daniel also put in a brand-new marble master bath on the second floor-until then, the house had only ever had one bathroom.

Daniel lived in Commiskey with his parents while he worked on the project, most of which he handled himself. "I've had to overcome a lot of fears" Daniel admitted. He painted the inside and outside of the house all on his own, which took two months, even though he is afraid of heights. He even had the ceiling fall on him at one point while he was working inside the house. The interior had never been painted, either, and when Daniel stripped away five layers of wallpaper, he could see through the corners to the outside.

All windows, doors, and stain glass pieces are original to the building. Most impressively, the original ice box and limestone sidewalk are still featured on the property, which is apparently very rare.

Majority of the renovations were completed in late May and Daniel has now been living in his newly refurbished historic home for a few weeks, but he is not done restoring yet.

The carriage house, authentic to the home, is still in need of improvement, and Daniel wants to eventually add a garden and repaint the exterior of the house again, but only "after I recover from the last paint job." Currently, the outside of the house is painted white, which is similar to how it looked in a 1950's photo of the house. Daniel wants to paint it multicolored, which is how it would have looked over a hundred years ago, evoking a sign of wealth.

More than having a passion for history, Daniel wants his home to be a place of gathering for friends and family alike, which is one of the reasons he listed his place on the Town & Country tour: He is not afraid of opening his home. "I'm a people person, so I need a house to go with that," he said.

Seize the opportunity to get the full story and view the rare, original pieces of the old Tripp family home personally on the Town & Country Home & Gardens Tour.

The Historical Society Museum will be open both days of the tours for ticket sales. The museum has reopened to the public with regular hours of operation Wednesday-Friday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. It is located at 134 East Brown Street in Vernon. Tour hours are Saturday, June 27 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, June 28 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tickets are available, $13 in advance; $15 day of tours. A boxed lunch is included with each ticket.

For more information call 812-346-8989 or 812-350-7081.

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