Ellis mansion to get new windows

Historic Review Board members approved renovations for three homes that are benefiting from state grant money.

Thew city received $350,000 through the Owner Occupied Rehabilitation Program. The Southern Indiana Development Commission, Loogootee, applied for the grant on behalf of the city.

Repairs can include pretty much anything — new energy-efficient roofs, windows, doors, insulation, heating and air, electrical, etc. — but priority is given to repairs that affect the overall health of the applicant.

This year 14 property owners are being helped with the money, and three of those — Mark Melcho at 804 N. Fifth St., Jean Fisher at 304 N. Third St., and Donna Beltz at 304 S. Sixth St. — own homes within the Historic District.

Their plans are for improvements to the outside of their homes — roofing, gutters, and windows — hence the need to get the HRB's approval. 

Three grant recipients, who live in the historic district of Vincennes, applied and received approval from the Historic Review Board to begin exterior improvements this fall. 

It is the purpose of the Historic Review Board to ensure that exterior changes made to historic homes, match as closely as possible to the original design and aesthetic; while still allowing for improvements in ways such as weather-proofing and energy efficiency.

In other business, the board approved applications for structural improvements from Sarah Wolfe and the Harmony Society.

Wolfe, who is the newest member of the HRB, was also on the agenda, requesting approval for work on her home at 506 N. Third St.

The board, with Wolfe abstaining from the vote, approved the application.

Board chairman Tim Trotter said the only thing he frowned upon in the proposal is “getting rid of metal roof for shingles.”

“But given the condition it’s in, and the fact that [it’s such] a beautiful house, we need to do what we can to get it stabilized and weather-proofed.”
 he said.

The Harmony Society received unanimous approval to replace four second-story windows at the building at 111 N. Second St. Additionally, the board were approved needed tuck-pointing work and one windowsill replacement.

The Harmony Society, the state's oldest private club dating back to well over a century, is housed in the Abner T. Ellis mansion, built in the 1830s. Lincoln may have slept there.

Members say the replacement windows are “like-for-like matches to the originals in their design.”

In a secondary phase, the social club will request approval for a new entry door.

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