HUNTINGTON, IND. (WPTA21)-“What’s unique about Huntington is that it has used preservation as an economic driver for its community. They respect its history its architecture it’s past.”
Huntington, Indiana respects its past and works hard to preserve it. A historic canal town and railroad town, Huntington has a proud story to tell and one its citizens refuse to forget.
“This project has been our big undertaking the last few years,” says Shannon Zuercher of Huntington Alert. “Places like this have a lot of significance to people.”
The latest chapter in the Huntington story that will not be lost is a 140 year old Italianate home on Market Street that almost kept its date with the wrecking ball. This is the Humbert house, built in 1879 by local businessman and state senator George Humbert. The house boasts twelve foot ceilings, massive oak pocket doors, beautiful ornate plaster details, floor to ceiling bay windows and exceptional oak mantelpieces hovering over inlaid tile fireplaces. The Humbert family lived here until 1899. The house then served as a doctor’s office until the 1960’s and a senior center until the late ’80’s. Abandoned, the crumbling home was about to be demolished when Huntington Alert, a local preservation group, secured a rehab loan from Indiana Landmarks, took possession of the building and began to stabilize it; new roof, new heating, plumbing and wiring.
“And this house is not cookie cutter,” says Paul Hayden of Indiana Landmarks. “It’s not out in suburbia it’s not plastic sheet rock. There’s beautiful details behind me is this gorgeous oak fireplace mantle there’s a couple of those in the house. There’s a lot of features that I think a buyer would really be attracted to.”
The home’s interior will be left unfinished, the new owners can decide how they want it. But the Humbert house should be on the market next month for under eighty thousand dollars, an incredible value for a solid piece of history. And a testament to local citizens who refuse to let their past disappear.
“Buildings like this give us a sense of place that’s unique to our town,” says Shannon Zuercher, “and when we lose sites like this we lose a little bit about what makes Huntington special.”