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.
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.