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Historic Preservation in Indiana

Essays from the Field

Photographs by Kristen Clement. Edited by Nancy R. Hiller

Publication Year: 2013

Over the last half century, historic preservation has been on the rise in American cities and towns, from urban renewal and gentrification projects to painstaking restoration of Victorian homes and architectural landmarks. In this book, Nancy R. Hiller brings together individuals with distinctive styles and perspectives, to talk about their passion for preservation. They consider the meaning of place and what motivates those who work to save and care for places; the role of place in the formation of identity; the roles of individuals and organizations in preserving homes, neighborhoods, and towns; and the spiritual as well as economic benefits of preservation. Richly illustrated, Historic Preservation in Indiana is an essential book for everyone who cares about preserving the past for future generations.

Published by: Indiana University Press

Title Page, Copyright, Quote

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pp. 2-7


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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix-xiv

I have always been struck by the passion and fervor of historic preservationists and environmental activists. They have a thirst, an appetite for their respective causes that sustains their advocacy and fuels their zeal. This is as it should be. After all, there is a lot at stake: cut down a Sequoia or tear down Penn Station and they are gone forever...

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pp. xv-2

Many people have worked to turn the idea for this book into reality. First among them is our sponsoring editor at the Indiana University Press, Linda Oblack, who championed the proposal and saw it through to contract. Linda’s assistant at the press, Sarah Jacobi, and project editor Nancy Lightfoot have also been unfailingly patient and helpful...

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pp. 3-11

Turkeys are a common sight in the fields surrounding the Monroe County Airport near Bloomington, Indiana. But out of the hundreds I’ve spotted over the years, there is one I will never forget. It was an autumn day in 2008 when this particular turkey caught my eye. Ten feet off the asphalt, it lay breast-up in the corn stubble, clad in a white plastic wrapper...

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1. Historic Preservation

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pp. 12-24

Historic preservation is a natural aspect of human existence, an inevitable result of our being creatures of memory and intention. We select and protect things to locate ourselves in time, in space, in society. The old woman on a green hill in Ireland washes weekly and displays daily her precious collection of plates; each was a gift and...

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2. Economics and Restoration: The Story of a Neighborhood's Rebirth

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pp. 25-39

Our family moved to Bloomington in 1963. It was a different city then. A railroad ran through the center of town dividing it socially and economically. East of the tracks was Indiana University, with large homes and expensive student rentals. West of the tracks was the city’s industrial heritage – the railroad, limestone mills, and a massive furniture factory, by then defunct – along with the modest homes originally...

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3. Ode to a Bungalow

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pp. 40-55

As I sit writing, I look out the west window through a curtain of lace, slatted wooden blinds, and mullions. My gaze moves on through the boughs of two century-old firs standing guard over the dignified front porch of the neighboring house. Additional trees provide a tracery of branches in winter and a comforting green canopy in summer...

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4. The Old Library Debate: How Bloomington, Indiana Preserved Its Carnegie Library

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pp. 56-75

Carnegie libraries are a common sight in cities and towns across the United States, monuments not only to the steel magnate whose wealth made their construction possible, but also to the largely unknown communities of people who planned and preserved them. Every Carnegie library building stands for the work of local...

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5. On Loan from the Sea

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pp. 76-82

Why, you may ask, does a weathervane in the shape of a fish swim atop the dome of the county courthouse in Bloomington, Indiana, six hundred miles from the sea? The explanations that circulate hereabouts range from sober to silly. My own theory tends, I suppose, toward the crackpot end of the spectrum, but I will share it with you...

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6. Industrial Muncie

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pp. 83-92

As preservationists, we are always looking for what a building can become at the same time as we are investigating what it once was. For that reason, industrial buildings present an especially compelling challenge. Once hubs of extensive and productive activity, when found abandoned or underused they stand as memorials – to the...

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7. Preservation as Good Business

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pp. 93-103

Bill and I had always liked Indiana history and architecture, and we spent hours exploring southern Indiana in the 1960s when we could spare the gasoline and the time. That was our recreation, eking out a few hours from our small Bloomington business, which we had started together at home and were gradually growing...

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8. Passing Through: Historic Preservation in Pike County's Patoka Bottoms

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pp. 104-127

The place was, and still is, south of where County Roads 300 West and 200 South intersect, approximately eleven miles below Petersburg in Pike County, Indiana. If you were to turn west from State Road 57 onto County Road 200 South, just north of the Gibson County line, and follow that road until you reach the first crossroads, you could...

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9. "Where's the Porch?" and Other Intersections between Archaeology and Historic Preservation

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pp. 128-145

At a historic preservation conference in the 1980s, I was introduced to a noted preservationist and dedicated champion of Indiana’s historic places. Upon learning that I was an archaeologist, he mentioned that he was involved in restoring a house; workers had nearly finished repairing the foundation, but he wondered whether the house...

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10. Preservation in Our Parks: A Natural Fit

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pp. 146-163

From its flat, lake-studded terrain in the north to the rolling hills of the Ohio River valley in the south, the Hoosier state is composed of an extraordinary variety of natural landscapes. The dense forest, meandering creeks, and rugged ground that so tried the determination of early nineteenth-century settlers have been prized for their beauty by generations since...

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11. Bloomington Restorations: Saving Landmarks, Neighborhoods, and Bloomington's Sense of Place

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pp. 164-177

Since its founding in 1976, Bloomington Restorations Inc. has relentlessly strived to save and restore the old buildings and neighborhoods of Bloomington and Monroe County, Indiana. Formed by people fed up with the destruction of landmark houses near downtown Bloomington, the group quickly moved beyond advocacy into the direct...

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12. Guinea Hens in the Churchyard: Signposts of Maple Grove Road

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pp. 178-183

The first time my husband and I drove Maple Grove Road, a rural historic district near Bloomington, Indiana, we were surprised. From the descriptions given us by friends, all of whom praised its rural charm, we had formed an expectation of idyllic, uninterrupted farmland dotted with benevolent old farmhouses. The farmland was still there. But...

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13. No Place Like Home: Preservation, the Past, and Personal Identity

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pp. 184-192

There is something mystical about the places you inhabited when you were young. Visit them decades later and you will find your mind redressing and regressing the houses and other buildings, cascading you into a reflective state of haze in the face of suddenly living memory. The past is a fading dream, and buildings are its symbols...


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pp. 193-198


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pp. 199-206

Production Notes

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p. 240-240

E-ISBN-13: 9780253010674
Print-ISBN-13: 9780253010469

Page Count: 224
Illustrations: 16 color illus., 30 b&w illus.
Publication Year: 2013