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August 8, 2020

7/22/2020 11:33:00 AM
Saving historic buildings

A program set Thursday at the Jennings County Historical Society will be most timely, considering the precarious state of two historic buildings in downtown North Vernon.

Greg Sekula, Director of Indiana Landmarks Southern Regional Office, will provide a crash course on what this organization does and how it assists preservation of historic properties.

A story in last week's Plain Dealer & Sun detailed how two historical buildings in downtown North Vernon have been condemned and now face possible demolition.

Sekula termed the buildings, at 504 East O&M Avenue and 227 East Walnut, as "pretty significant and important."

"For the integrity of the historic district we need to save those buildings," he said.

Sekula met with Mayor Ochs before the last City Council meeting to discuss the structures and raise his concerns. He has also spoken with the owner of 227 Walnut, Tom Taylor, and the owner of 504 East O&M, Jerry Greene.

"We're working to try and figure out solutions," he said.

The talk will include ideas how residents could approach saving not only these downtown buildings, but other historic structures in Jennings. One such property is the old Tunnel Mill. While it is virtually gone, it is not too late to preserve and stabilize its remains.

Strategies for saving such landmarks include incentives for preservation and the need for more active public participation in preservation.

The recent Home and Garden Tour highlighted recently restored historic properties, and Jennings is fortunate to have many properties like the North American House, the Courthouse, and numerous churches, houses, bridges and businesses, some of which are threatened.

Four historic districts are located here in Jennings.

This is a great opportuity for public officials and anyone interested in preservation to learn the basics.

Just bring your questions and learn! There is also the task of nominating the county's two covered bridges to the National Registry, along with other historic homes, farms and barns, added Louise Malcomb, our Heritage member.

Social distancing will be observed at the talk and masks are encouraged. Depending on attendance the program may be held in the upstairs dining room where more space is available for distancing.

Everyone is welcome to attend the program which will commence at 6 p.m. Thursday, July 23 at the North American House in Vernon.

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