July 4, 2022

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Westfield Preservation Alliance, Indiana Landmarks Try To Preserve The Historic Building At 102 S. Union St.

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Westfield Preservation Alliance, Indiana Landmarks

For more than a decade, the Westfield Preservation Alliance has been concentrating its efforts on the historic buildings located in the downtown area of Westfield. In the early part of this year, the charitable organization found out that the measures it had made earlier in the year had prevented the destruction of a one-of-a-kind building built in the late 1830s. 

Westfield Preservation Alliance

It is highly possible that the green building currently located at 102 South Union Street will be moved to a new location when construction on enlarging Indiana 32 begins.

Westfield Preservation Alliance, Indiana Landmarks

It would not have been possible to rescue the structure without the assistance of Preservation Vice President Mark Dollase and Westfield Preservation Alliance Board Member Linda Naas, both of whom are affiliated with Indiana Landmarks. 

She went on to say that the organization had been working since 2012 toward the goal of having the structure recognized as a historic area. In 2019, the city of Westfield designated the downtown district as a designated area inside the city’s boundaries. The northern border continues for several blocks to the north of Penn Street.

The Westfield Preservation Alliance noted that numerous buildings on the southern boundary of Indianapolis 32 were at risk of being demolished due to a plan to grow Indianapolis 32 throughout downtown. As Indiana State Route 32 is a state roadway, the city had to wait a very long time before being granted permission to widen the road. 

Because of the work done, the state’s historic review board was able to issue a statement proclaiming that the city may proceed with widening its highway in exchange for 11 conditions, one of which is the preservation of the building located at 102 South Union Street.

According to Dollase, the Indiana Landmarks and Westfield Preservation Alliance would not have been so persistent in pursuing this 11-point plan if it hadn’t been so important to them. “We’ve been in meetings for about two years,” the speaker said to arrive at this point. In the late 1830s, this building served its original purpose as a drugstore. 

Throughout its 190-year history, it has also functioned as a grocery store, many cafés, and, most recently, a dance studio. Dollase thinks that the building is historically significant and should be preserved because it retains many of its original components, even though it is “not particularly handsome.”

According to him, the first floor looks very different now because it has been utilized for a wide variety of purposes over the years. The basement of the building is an interesting spot to visit because it allows visitors to see the development of the skyscraper.” The floor system in this building is supported by log beams that are left exposed on the interior. The adze markings on the lumber denote the areas where the bark was removed with this instrument (which looks like an ax). 

Dollase claims that the wood siding originally installed on the second level is still present beneath the clapboard frame siding currently being used. The structure has many original features, including hardwood flooring, elegant moldings, and a fireplace.

Dollase sees a place for his business on the ground floor and for himself, an apartment on the second floor. Several potential new sites for the structure, including Asa Bales Park, Hadley Park, and a piece of land located to the south of the Westfield Playhouse. However, the third choice, which would not involve moving anywhere near the historic district, is still in the running.

Naas and Dollase anticipate having an answer about the potential relocation of the building by the summer. According to Dollase’s estimates, the structure could be moved somewhere else within a few blocks if that were required. 

He estimated that the transfer cost would range from $35,000 to $45,000, but this does not include the price of the land. Dollase went on to say that there are companies that specialize in the relocation of historic buildings. The structure is lifted and transported using a flatbed truck, and once it has been moved, it is positioned on a new base. On occasion, they will give structural support on the interior of the building or encircle the exterior of the building.”

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