Woman Fights to Save Her Historic Childhood Home From Demolition

Published 02/06 2014 06:34PM

Updated 02/06 2014 07:07PM

Some call it historic, others call it home but it might just become a memory. The deadline to save a 123 year old cottage in Evansville expired on Thursday. Even though it's slated for demolition, one of it's former tenants hasn't given up hope.

Officials from Evansville's Historic Preservation Commission had the demolition of 305 E. Columbia St. delayed by two weeks because the house is listed as notable on the city's architectural survey. It was the commission's only option after the property owner filed paperwork to have the historic cottage demolished. The commission had hoped a private investor would step forward but nothing quite materialized, officials said.

While private investors had not stepped forward, one of the home's most recent occupants has.


Houses are a lot like people -- family even. They can have character, personality, scars and stories. But when looking at the red-bricked beauty at 305 E. Columbia, Holly Pickerill will always say 'that's her.'

"She needs some work but she stands strong," Pickerill said. "Look at all these storms that have come through, she's still standing."

She's still standing even after 123 years. Built in 1891, the Queen Anne style cottage silently bears witness to how things were and how things are.

"I grew up here more in my preteen to late teen years," Pickerill said. "It was probably the best years of a child's life."

Pickerill moved out in the early 2000s after spending nearly a decade living at the historic home. Her parents had lived there up until 2012, Pickerill said. Standing on her favorite porch step, Pickerill said it's difficult to know that her 'old friend at 305' might not see another birthday.

"I wasn't happy. I've known it was coming for a while," Pickerill said. "I didn't believe it because I really thought he wouldn't do it."

He did.

The property owner recently filed paperwork to have the home demolished. City officials with the Evansville Historic Preservation Commission stepped in and had the demolition order delayed by two weeks. It was their only legal course of action, according to Historic Preservation Officer Dennis Au.

That delay, however, ends today.

The house built by the hands of men might meet it's end the same way.

"He's my uncle and he owns the house," Pickerill said. "He don't want her no more. I just don't see her coming down. I guarantee it, if she does, she'll put up a fight. She won't come down easy."

If you listen closely, it's hard to tell who Pickerill is talking about the house or herself. For more than a decade, the 'old friend at 305 E. Columbia' protected her.

But now Pickerill has decided it's time to return the favor.

"I just plea for somebody to come in and just say 'hey, I want her. I want to save her,'" Pickerill said. "She's worth being saved. She'll give you the love back. She's got it. She just needs somebody to love her too."

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