The McShane house

The McShane family was first to settle in what became Clay Township in Hamilton County, Indiana. Their property is less than a half mile from the Marion County (Indianapolis) line. They built a log cabin on it in 1825, and in 1886 replaced it with this grand old home.

Indiana Landmarks photo

It’s a historic home on a historic road – Westfield Boulevard. If you look it up on old maps, you’ll see it called Westfield Road and Range Line Road. When Indiana created its first highway network in 1917, it became part of State Road 1; later, it became the first alignment of US 31.

I work a mile from here and pass this house all the time. I’ve watched it slowly deteriorate over the years – the last owner couldn’t afford the mortgage and abandoned it. It’s been broken into; I gather that there’s been some vandalism inside.

But now the McShane house has a chance. Indiana Landmarks, our historic preservation organization, just bought it at auction. They will make repairs to stabilize the home, and then will resell it with protective covenants to someone who will restore it and live in it.

Don’t think I’m not tempted. But I have a few friends who have restored homes. From them I’ve learned that I just haven’t the time, energy, money, skills, and touch of insanity necessary to make my home my life’s project.

But Indiana Landmarks has a great track record of putting the right people in the homes they buy. They did it for an 1840s farmhouse around the corner from my house – it sat empty for a few years, but now a young family lives there and is making improvements. So I’m sure that in time Indiana Landmarks will find the right people for the McShane house, too.

See my photo of a lonely tree silhouetted against sunrise, which was taken just down the street from this house.


11 thoughts on “The McShane house

  1. It’s a beautiful house. Have you ever been inside? You know there are tax breaks for people who restore landmark properties? In our neighborhood there are homeowners who just sort of perpetually work on their old houses… one neighbor has spent a couple years sanding and painting the outside in between work as a software developer. You could do it! I think you should do it!

  2. Lone Primate says:

    That’s astonishing! It’s hard to imagine private donations could secure a place like that, but I suppose the county was just interested in getting the taxes cleared up. What a wonderful idea. I really hope it comes together and the place gets its second wind. :)

    • To the extent I have a bucket of money, it needs to go toward my kids’ college educations, not toward restoring an old house.

  3. I see houses like this all the time and it breaks my heart! This will have a happy ending! I know what you mean, time and cash are always the reason. But if I had both, I would be flipping houses left and right!

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