Touring the Huddleston Farmhouse, part 1: the exterior and grounds

It’s a commanding presence on the National Road, this, the Huddleston farm. It’s in Wayne County, between the towns of Cambridge City and Mt. Auburn, on the south side of the road. You first see the big house itself, built in 1841, as you approach along what is now US 40. It is just steps away from the road.

The Huddleston Farmhouse

When John Huddleston built it, the road was much narrower and so was a little farther away from the house. But the house was still plenty close to the road so travelers wouldn’t miss it, as Huddleston opened his home as an inn for travelers. He operated it with his wife Susannah and their 11 children.

The Huddleston Farmhouse

Travelers rested in the yard, on the porch, or in one of three rooms on the house’s ground floor. In those days, those rooms were accessible only from the outside. Travelers could also rent one of two kitchens, which I presume were in outbuildings.

The Huddleston Farmhouse

While travelers used the rooms on the ground floor, the Huddlestons lived in the upper two floors. A kitchen, dining room, family room, and parlor are on the middle level, and the family slept in rooms on the upper level. Later this week I’ll share photos I took of the middle level, which is arranged and decorated with period-correct furnishings.

The Huddleston Farmhouse

On the grounds you’ll find buildings that were a pump house, a smoke house, a large barn, and a small barn. The large and small barns are the two photos above. The smoke house is the photo below; it is a reproduction and the only non-original building on the property.

The Huddleston Farmhouse

Below is the pump house, built over the well.

The Huddleston Farmhouse

It was just a few steps outside from the kitchen to retrieve water. That was pretty modern in 1841.

The Huddleston Farmhouse

Indiana Landmarks has owned this property since 1966 and restored it in the 1970s. The house’s brick was originally not painted, but Landmarks painted it in the restoration. I’m not sure they’d do the same today, but the standards of preservation were different in the 1970s.

Come back all week for more photos from the farm. On Thursday I’ll share photos from the interior, the middle floor, which is furnished as it might have been in the Huddlestons’ time.

I’ve driven the National Road from its beginning in Baltimore, MD to its end in Vandaila, IL. To read everything I’ve ever written about it, click here.

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11 responses to “Touring the Huddleston Farmhouse, part 1: the exterior and grounds”

  1. Nancy Stewart Avatar
    Nancy Stewart

    So the original look was a red brick before it was painted white ?? Well I guess it certainly catches the eye with the white and looks very neat …. but I would like to see what it originally looked like. If we’re ever that way , I would love to stop and check it out. Thank you for giving us a virtual tour.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Yep. There are b/w photos of the house pre-restoration and the difference is stark. I guess that when they restored it they were going after a look like Colonial Williamsburg. i’m not sure, if they started the restoration today, they’d make the same choice. But the house is definitely striking and impossible to miss in white and green. It’s definitely worth a visit, Nancy. If you go, contact them in advance to schedule a tour of the interior, as that’s available only by appointment.

  2. J P Avatar

    I have never been aware of this. It might be a fun day trip some time.

    Yes, that painted brick is interesting. Perhaps there was some patchwork they were trying to disguise.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      It is a lovely place to visit. Then you can go antique shopping in Cambridge City and in Centerville. A very nice day.

  3. DougD Avatar

    That’s a commanding house all right. I read that when you strip the paint from an old house you usually discover the reason it was painted in the first place, and wind up painting it yourself. But who knows? At least they preserved it.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I do wonder what sins lurk behind that paint!

      1. Dan Cluley Avatar
        Dan Cluley

        The quality of brick does seem to vary considerably. My local downtown had an unpainted block of buildings from 1898 that seems to be in excellent condition. On the other hand, the 1870s-1880s buildings all seem to have been painted by the mid 20th century and require considerable masonry repair each time they are repainted.

  4. M.B. Henry Avatar

    Looks like a place we’ll have to visit next time we’re in Indiana!

    1. Jim Grey Avatar


  5. Dan Cluley Avatar
    Dan Cluley

    I was just recently reading about Indiana Landmarks and their work in the Dunes area. They seem to be quite an impressive organization.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      We are fortunate to have them.

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