The Old Friend at 305: Historians Hope to Save 1890s Cottage

It was built in 1891 but it might not live to see next weekend. One of Evansville's oldest homes has a date with demolition. The property owner wants to tear it down but the Evansville Historic Preservation Commission hopes a private investor can build it back up.

It was built in 1891 but it might not live to see next weekend. One of Evansville's oldest homes has a date with demolition. The property owner wants to tear it down but the Evansville Historic Preservation Commission hopes a private investor can build it back up.

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Under the canopy of a giant tree, with it's grand arches and beautiful brickwork, the cottage at 305 E. Columbia came to life by supplying it.

"It's the kind of building that if you walk by, stop and look at it, you will smile," said Dennis Au, Evansville's historic preservation officer.

The smiles it has provided stretch back decades but this Queen Anne-style cottage built in 1891 might not live to see next weekend.

"I would love to see it restored to it's former glory," Au said. "But I realize there are certain property rights. This is just one brief second chance."

As the world speeds by the old friend at 305, time has caught up. The front porch sags, vines peek through the curtains and And the windowless top floor stares like a pair of hollow eyes.

At the owners request, this great neighbor has a February 6th date with demolition unless a private investor steps in. Evansville's Historic Preservation Commission already used its only option. Under city ordinance, the demolition of any building deemed notable according to the city's architecture registry can be delayed by up to 14 days. That two week grace period ends soon.

"If you see it, it has a lot of character," Au said. "It's something that gives the neighborhood some personality of place."

"As old as it is, I think it would be a loss when it can be fixed up and used," said David Russell, who lives right across the street. "It's just the history. Everything is going away. It's just one more thing they're not going to have. Everything is going to these modular homes. The wind will blow them over. That over there looks like a strong structure."

It had the strength to stand through countless spring storms and winter snows. But it might not withstand inevitability.

This quaint cottage that came to life at the corner might meet it's end backed into one.

"It's a no win situation. Once you tear it down, it's gone," Russell said. "You can't build it back."
  
If you might be interested in saving the home, contact the Historic Preservation Commission.

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