Open Door

Open Door
Indianapolis, Indiana

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

How it all started

The Horner House is a beautiful but neglected historic house in Indianapolis, IN. Our blog and Facebook page are being started to document our journey as we began our project to rescue her from the wrecking ball.
Just a few facts:
The Horner House was built in 1875 by Abraham Horner. It is a beautiful example of Second Empire architecture. The house, close to the historic Irvington neighborhood, was once considered a jewel of Indianapolis. Over the past half century, she slowly sank into disrepair, sitting empty and eventually boarded up. At one time, the house was chopped up into 5 apartments. Then it was used mostly for storage. Finally, the city assumed ownership. It was boarded up, deserted, left to the elements, tagged by a gang. The elements and time were rapidly impacting her potential to be preserved. Then, the nasty winter of 2010-2011, with the heavy snow and multiple ice storms, resulted in the partial collapse of the back wall. Time was running out to find anyone willing to take this gem back to her original beauty. On March 9, 2011, we discovered that Indiana Landmarks was looking for someone to purchase the house, to save it from demolition, and so our journey began.
Who we are:
Mary (married to Ron) grew up in Indianapolis and has had a love of historic homes since visiting the Lanier House as a small child. She works as a project manager in information services. Her interests in genealogy and Indianapolis/Indiana history got this project started. Mary will be sharing blogging duties with Eric.
Ron grew up in a nearby suburb of Indianapolis. He and Mary worked to restore a beautiful turn of the century home in Michigan, where he gained first-hand knowledge of the joy and pain required. He works as the VP of Marketing in the family business. He will be sharing his extensive experience in home repair, mechanical systems and marketing during the project.
Amanda (married to Eric) lived near Indianapolis until she was 8 when her family moved to an historic home in southwestern Michigan. During her childhood, she visited many beautiful old homes throughout the Midwest. It became her dream to someday rescue an elegant old home, preferably one with a large library. She is the president of the family business and the primary driver of this project.
Eric grew up in Florida and Kentucky. He has a long time love of architecture and historic buildings. He brings an eye for beauty and love of all things old to the project. He is the VP of Operations in the family business and a professional land surveyor. His knowledge of standards, architecture and woodworking will be critical to our success. 
About our blog:
We all have a strong sense of community and believe that it’s everyone’s responsibility to give back. Ideas for our blog started right at the beginning of the project. The goal is, by blogging our experiences, discoveries and successes, we can inspire others to begin their own preservation project. We hope to prove that you don’t need to have a lot of money to get started, as long as you’re willing to work hard, and plan carefully.  To prove that an ordinary person can preserve our city and state, one house at a time, without having to win the lottery to do it.

Your input, help and comments are very much appreciated. Any donations will be gratefully accepted. Please join us on our journey and pray for our success.



  1. WOOHOO!! I'm so proud of you guys, and excited for you! We are just finishing up our dream house and you guys are starting yours. It's hard work, hard times, but with a great team like this one, it will be worth it. Can't wait to follow this journey!

  2. I can't tell you how excited I am that I will know someone that will preserve and own this house! I passed by it all the time and thought how sad it was that it was abandoned.

  3. Hi Mary,
    My name is Zlatko and I'm a producer with WISH-TV.
    I am trying to get in touch with you. I have sent you a Facebook message. Thanks.