Christmas at the Museum and Home Tours
December 7 & 8
Richard & Kimberlee Weiland
305 Adams Street
This grand old house dominates the corner of Adams Street and 3rd Street, where it quietly stands watch over the neighborhood. Set back from the street, a meandering sidewalk leads one to the entrance of this inviting home. Built in 1880, it is a two story eight room home with over 3,000 square feet of living space, providing spacious sized rooms. Karl and Elizabeth Kolter previously owned the home, having purchased it from a former Decatur mayor in the early to middle 70’s. The new owners, Richard and Kimberlee Weiland, acquired the house in 2018.
During this short ownership, the Weiland’s have put forth much effort in restoring the home; the beautifully finished oak woodwork will attest to this. The home feature several built-ins, hardwood flooring and a two way staircase. In addition, a woodworking shop runs the width of the back side of the structure. There is still more work that they plan to undertake on the second level of the home, but the Weilands have graciously agreed to invite the public in to see what they have accomplished so far.
James & Maryellen Mason
103 South 4th Street
This Queen Ann Victorian style home was designed by Architect Oscar Hoffman for his parents, Fred & Catherine Hoffman. Fred, a local contractor, built the home in 1905.
The Hoffman’s and their daughter, occupied the home until the mid-1950s, when it was purchased by the McAlhaney’s. They made this their home until sometime in the 70s when the Gerwig family purchased it. In 2006, the home became a rental property until it fell into foreclosure in 2011 and stood empty until James and Maryellen Mason purchased the home in December of 2014.
During the last five years, the Mason’s have made every attempt to restore the home to its original glory. All the work, except for the roof and foundation repairs, were completed by the Masons.
The present laundry room is believed to have originally been a dressing room off of the master bedroom. It now boasts a wall mural, hand painted by Mrs. Gerwig when her family occupied the home. The ceiling in both the butler’s pantry and the back entrance are original and were painstakingly removed, stripped, refinished and reinstalled. Their original beauty has been restored.
Jerry and Aleta Coyne
Decatur, Indiana 46733
In 1935, Decatur was honored as being the second city chosen, out of ten in the nation, to become the site of a federally sponsored housing project. The purpose was to provide better housing conditions and raise the standard of living by means of subsistence gardens. This experimental project was the brainchild of Eleanor Roosevelt, whose desire was to create affordable homesteads with enough room for people to plant gardens and small orchards and raise chickens as a means of survival during the Depression. Thus, most lots in the Homestead complex are at least an acre in size, and all open up to a large common area in the center for families to meet and children to play. Most people will tell you that The Homestead has always been a great place to raise a family. In 1980, five of the original 48 residents still remained at the Homesteads. This house has only had 4 families occupy it throughout the 84 years. The original owners of Homestead #5 was not deeded until 1947, but was then sold to Marion Heare in 1956; Ron and Karen Landrum in 1974; and current owners, Jerry and Aleta Coyne in 1999.
These homes were small, modest bungalows, following one of three designs. Consequently, over the years, almost all have seen some type of remodel. The most significant changes to Homestead #5 were made during the ownership of the Landrums, who added a two car garage, an extended basement, and a room addition. Karen Landrum maintained beautiful flower gardens all around the home.
In 2007, the Coynes remodeled the property to unify the roof-lines. This created a full two-story home with a third floor bonus room. Throughout the home, there are elements of reclaimed wood and stone retrieved from a local barn owned by Heller's on Winchester Road. Most of this stone is found in the landscaping all around the property. The barn siding was planed and stained and now makes up the front porch ceiling. A barn beam has become a fireplace mantel and in a couple of other places, you will discover a wall of tin roofing that was also from the barn. The brick entryway sports brick pulled from 10th Street, the last remaining brick street in Decatur to have been replaced. And most of the existing perennials have been dug and traded with neighbors through-out the years.
202 East 6th Street
Geneva, Indiana. 46740
Gene Stratton-Porter Cabin, (Geneva, Indiana), known as the Limberlost Cabin and the Limberlost State Historic Site, was the former home of Gene Stratton Porter, a noted Indiana author who lived in the home from 1895 to 1913. The two-story, fourteen-room log cabin is located near the Limberlost Swamp on the outskirts of Geneva in Adams County, Indiana. Stratton-Porter designed the Queen Anne-style rustic home with the help of an architect. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974.
In the early 1800s the Limberlost Swamp was described as a “treacherous swamp and quagmire, filled with every plant, animal and human danger known — in the worst of such locations in the central states.” Stretching for 13,000 acres the vast forest and swampland was legendary for its quicksand and unsavory characters. The swamp received its name from Limber Jim, who got lost while hunting in the swamp. When the news spread, the cry went out “Limber’s lost!”
To famed Indiana author Gene Stratton-Porter, the swamp was her playground, laboratory and inspiration for her acclaimed articles, fiction and photographs. The Limberlost Swamp was the perfect laboratory for author Gene Stratton-Porter to study nature. At a time when most women were homemakers, Stratton-Porter created a lasting legacy of northern Indiana’s vanishing natural history through her writings and photos.
Geneva (Gene) Grace Stratton was born in1863, near Wabash. Her parents passed along a love of the unspoiled outdoors — a love she kept throughout her life as a respected author, naturalist, photographer and illustrator. In 1886, Gene married Charles Porter, owner of a drug store in Geneva. After the birth of their daughter, Jeannette, they moved in 1888 to Geneva, near the Limberlost Swamp. Gene designed this 13-room, a Queen Anne rustic log “cabin”, and it was completed in 1895. The interior is finished in both Victorian and Arts and Crafts styles. The Porters lived here until the swamp was drained in 1913. She then built a new home on the shore of Sylvan Lake near Rome City.
In the 18 years that she lived at Limberlost, she wrote six of her 12 novels and five of her seven nature books, including the best-selling Freckles and A Girl of the Limberlost. An estimated 50 million people worldwide have read her works, and many of her novels were produced as motion pictures.
116 S. 2nd Street
2nd Street Lofts is a recently completed restoration of a vintage building which now offers income-based, affordable housing for creatives in the heart of Decatur! There are 16 unique apartments with an industrial style that inspires creativity. We are delighted to be able to include one of these apartments in the ACHS Christmas Open House and Home Tours this year.
Formerly the Schafer Hardware Co., this building was founded in 1874 by Fredrich Schafer and his brother Jacob and has been a landmark on 2nd Street since then. What began as a simple hardware store grew to the largest store and business of its kind in Northern Indiana and second in size to any in the State by 1918. Even a major fire in 1914 that destroyed the building did not hold them back; as plans were quickly undertaken for a new building that was near fire-proof as possible
One part of the store consisted of farming equipment of every kind, tractors, buggies, wagons, threshing machines and engines. They even served as the local agency for the sale of the Oakland automobile. Their retail department sold harness and automobile accessories as well as a complete line of hardware, stoves, tin ware, paints, butter churns, etc. The Schafer Co. continued to grow and change with the demands of the day. In addition to their main floor business, the Shafer Co. leased space on the 2nd floor to various other enterprises. One such group was the Masonic Lodge. The 8,000 square feet of floor space included a lodge room, a reception room, dining room, club and reading room, bathrooms and cloak room. Also housed on the second floor of the building were a tin shop, a repair shop and a saddlery and harness manufacturing business.
With a nod toward progressivenism yet today, this original Craftsman style building has taken on an exciting modern day look.
Charles Dugan Mansion
Adams County Historical Museum
420 W Monroe St.
The Charles A. Dugan House was constructed in 1902 in the Neoclassical Revival style as a grand single-family residence. The house is a two-story structure constructed of yellow brick with a truncated hip roof. The monumental half-round portico on the entrance facade is typical for the character of this style, as well as the doric pilasters and the heavy detailed eaves.
The house was designed by prominent the Fort Wayne architectural firm of Wing and Mahurin and is one of four Neoclassical Revival style properties identified in Decatur. Of those four properties, two of which are churches and two residential, the Dugan House is the most sophisticated and displays the more stylistic hallmarks of the Neoclassical Revival style. The house was constructed by Moon Construction.