The Preservation Association presented its sixth annual awards Friday night at Traditions on National Ave. to honor those who have made a major impact in Clay County in preserving our original landmarks.
Each year, the Preservation Association reviews several nominations that they have received throughout the year for awards. All of these nominations are given to the board and a committee places these in categories.
Committee members then call upon the owners of the landmark to announce they have been nominated for a possible award.
The committee will ask to tour the landmark to assess its values against the Indiana Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Rehabilitation for Historic Preservation to determine if eligibility is met for each nomination. If that landmark meets the criteria, the committee will relay the information back to the board for approval. The highest number of votes in each category receives the award for that year. Interestingly, if the nominated landmark doesn't make it one year, it can be nominated for the next year.
This year the Preservation Association created two new categories of awards. Due to several nominations being received for farmsteads and barns this year, Farmstead was added as a new category. Additionally, the board voted to create an Exceptional Award category for outstanding landmarks that cross over more than one category and have an originality that is rare. The board was pleased to do this since it had several nominations for one particular well-known landmark in this county, which will be discussed in Part 2 of this article.
Our first Preservation Award winner is Robert Lyons who owns the Lyons' Barn and Farmstead located west on CR 1000 N. The easiest way is to proceed west on Hendrix St. about 5-6 miles and it's located on the north side of the road. The barn, built around 1936-38, and farmstead stands openly on the Lyons' farm. Bob grew up on this farm, remembering when his grandparents, Paul and Mary Lyons, lived there. Bob and his wife Kathy now own it and make it their home.
Bob's grandparents used the barn for a diary business from 1936-1961 when they milked about 65 cows twice a day each day. Paul and Mary processed the milk and delivered it on a local milk route.
Today, the barn is used for farrowing pigs and is in the process of being remodeled for that purpose. However, the integrity of the barn is still intact with some of its dairy fixtures, lines, hay lofts, and feed shoots still seen today.
Constructed of glazed conduit blocks and brick made in Clay County, the vernacular-constructed building stands out with its two silos located west of the building itself. When we think of conduit tile blocks, we normally think of its use only for laying wire during the turn of the century but it was great as building blocks for buildings.
Other than the silos, the weather vane darted the roof line along with three large vents spaced across the top. Feed shoots are located at both east and west sides of the barn where hay was thrown down to be fed to dairy cows while being milked. The entire top floor was used for storing hay since a lot was needed to feed all the cows. Other out-buildings, such as corn cribs and storage buildings are seen on this site along with the original house which is now considered rental property.
The Lyons Dairy Farmstead is one of the county's few examples of a dairy barn left. It has a contributing rating as determined by the Indiana Historic Sites and Structures Inventory for Clay County and receives the award in the category of Barn and Farmstead.
The second Preservation Award goes to two couples who have jointly shared in the love for this unique county landmark at 303 N. Forest Ave. Built as a Free Classic architectural, two-story home 1900-1905, this painted-lady gets a lot of guests for its unique dining experience as Company's Coming Dining House. Jan and Stephen Stapp remodeled this home into a dining house around 1991 and then it was purchased by Susan and Chuck Shaffer who kept up this unique epicurean home for what it was intended to be -- a delightful walk into a Victorian dinner -- for the last three years.
The interior has oak woodwork throughout with two sets of pocket doors. The front room or entry shows off an Austrian pearl-inlaid and wood-framed fireplace. The fireplace came from the St. Louis World's Fair 1904 and has an iron cover with green and beige tiles.
Three rooms are used for dining. One has a fireplace. One dining room is accented by leather dado wall covering which resembles linoleum Incrust dado that can still be purchased today. Dado is a form of puncturing the leather or linoleum into durable, embossed designs that was used in wall coverings around the 1900s.
The front stairs and the back stairs (kitchen area) are unique in that both join up at the same landing on the second floor where three bedrooms are located. Both stairs are identical. In most houses, the back stairs are normally plain and functional instead of ornate.
Steps to the house are cut-line limestone that you would see around the 1900s. This landmark has a notable rating as determined by the Indiana Historic Sites and Structures Inventory for Clay County. Both the Stapps and Shaffers received an award in the Commercial category.
Tomorrow: More award winners are introduced.