Report It! Wrap: Revitalizing the Farrington’s Grove Historical District

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TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) – If you are familiar with the area of Farrington’s Grove, you know there are some spectacular houses to see.

Unfortunately, time has caught up with several of them, leaving many in shambles.

But now, a nearly six year project in the making, is finally underway in the historical district. Farrington’s Grove is the oldest surviving neighborhood in Terre Haute.

And one group of volunteers is making sure the history of the district is well preserved.

“We’ve seen just a gradual decline of the quality of Farrington’s Grove, kind of slowly decaying over time because of inattention to the preserving of the properties and maintaining them in good shape,” Mark Frederick explained.

Almost six years ago a group of community members with an interest in revitalizing the area created the Community Development Corporation.

The mission of the CDC is to first seek to stabilize the neighborhood and then to attend to infrastructure improvement over a long period of time.

Through a partnership with Indiana State University and the Farrington’s Grove Historic District, the CDC was able to secure a $25,000 grant from the Oakley Foundation and then a loan through Indiana Historic Landmarks.

This investment allowed them to begin their first project.

“One of the first projects was to try and secure a home for rehab and to sell it on the private market afterwards using those proceeds to fund the next project,” Frederick, who is the CDC’s project coordinator, told us. “So we anticipate that this is the first of a long string of home revitalizations, rehab projects we will be taking on.”

The group spent several years looking at many options – trying to find the right fit and location for the kind of work the group wanted to do.

In the end, it was the generosity of a community member that led them to their home, the Austermiller House, located at 1132 S. 7th Street.

“And the neighbor just to the north owned this property and gifted it to the CDC,” Mark said. “She had a deep interest in it being brought back to its original glory.”

The house was built in 1895 by a local business owner in Terre Haute. The home is two stories, with three bedrooms and two bathrooms. There is also an attic and a basement.

With the financial aspects in order, and the location officially secured, the work began. Volunteers went in and cleaned it up preparing the house for major work.

First a crew will come in and work on the electrical work. Then a new roof will be in order. And while major construction will have to take place, they do not want to destroy the historical integrity of the home.

So little by little the original elegance of the home is being brought back. And once the home is complete, they hope to find a great family to move in.

But as this current project goes along, the CDC wants to start looking ahead at their next location. Something founding board member, Kelly Ford, thinks will keep this project going.

“We’ll do the best we can on this and keep the historic integrity, sell it, hopefully make a little bit of profit, roll that into the next house… same thing… same thing and hopefully the profit and the pool that we have to buy another house and another house will grow,” Kelly said. “We have some great board members on hand. So, I think we have the right people.”

Bringing the house back to life and preserving the history of the historical area of Farrington’s Grove.

“This is a beautiful, historic neighborhood and it doesn’t need to go away,” Kelly continued.

The CDC plans to have work done on this location by the spring of 2017. They will then make arrangements to move on to their next house.

And you better believe we will be there when the work is done at 1132 S. 7th Street to show off the beautifully revitalized historic home.

While a lot of work will need to go into the home, you can still see the original beauty of it. Check out the video below to see a full tour of the house!

If you want to find out more information on the Community Development Corporation’s work in Farrington’s Grove, check out their Facebook page. And if you want to learn more about the Historical District of Farrington’s Grove, check out their website.