Open Door

Open Door
Indianapolis, Indiana

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

End of November Update

We are working on our West Wing Stabalization blogs for days 2 & 3. There are too many technical items for me (Mary) to address & Eric/Amanda are working 16 hour days in our business. Once they get a chance to catch their breath, we'll make another stabilization post. In the meantime, I thought I'd catch you up on some of the unusual things that are happening now.

We have so much to be thankful for, the Horner House, family, friends and the overwhelming support & interest of people in our renovation project. The most recent interest came from The Indianapolis Star. As some of you know, Will Higgins did an article on the Horner House that was published in the Thanksgiving Day (11/24/2011) Indianapolis Star - There were more pictures in the print version but you'll get the point from the online version. Amanda posted some clarifications on our Facebook page.

Clarification for the 11/24/2011 Star article from our Facebook Page:

"This article ran on Thanksgiving Day. There are a couple of things that I would like to clarify. First the quote from Reggie Walton about the community wanting the house torn down, while technically correct, doesn't tell the whole story. There were some members of the community clamoring to tear the house down, but Christian Park Active Community was desperately trying to save it. Even going so far as applying to purchase the home for a community center.

The other two items I would like to clarify are the statement that reenacting is our current hobby and recorder playing. Eric and I did participate in the SCA for many years, but have not had the time since we opened our surveying company in 2007. We still have many very good friends in the group but are no longer active ourselves. As for the comments on our music, it is true that we occasionally play in public, but leaves out much information. Eric and I are two members of a music group called the Dragon Scale Consort. The group consists of nine members who play harp, recorders, cittern, and a myriad of percussion instruments. We have played for many different audiences including weddings and fund raisers, Ren Fairs in Indiana and Louisiana, the Biergarten at the Rathskeller, and with the Indiana Ballet Company before they dissolved. We do love music as much as we love things that are old.

We greatly appreciate Will Higgins, Matt Detrich, and the Indianapolis Star taking the time to write about the Horner House and also the controversial demolition issues in our city putting preservation in the spotlight. Hopefully by doing so other deserving houses can be saved. "

Just below the article on the Horner House was an article regarding saving the homes in Indianapolis that are slated for demolition - We realize that the Horner House is an unusual example when it comes to the abandoned homes in Indianapolis slated for demolition but it makes us sad to see any home demolished if it could be saved. We would like the process to slow down so that those homes on the list that could be saved will be, whether historical, archeticturally significant or just needing TLC. Some may, on the surface, look like there are no options left but demolition but that might not be true. When we first saw the west (back) wall of the Horner House, we were afraid that the entire structure might not be stable. It was only through the input of our structural engineer, Bob Ladish, that we determined that the Horner House was still stable enough to save.

Several days later, imagine our surprise when there was another item in the Star mentioning Amanda & Eric - And especially when it began with "Indianapolis needs more people like Amanda and Eric Browning -- many more of them." We do hope there are others in Indianapolis who share our passion for old houses and Indianapolis history. While we would like to see the demolitions stopped long enough to do some educated decision making, we didn't start down this road to be crusaders. We just couldn't stand the thought that the Horner House would be torn down and would fade into history as so many of our Indianapolis landmarks have in the past.

We really don't consider ourselves unusual. We appreciate old things, especially beautiful old houses. They can be awesome when restored. Perhaps the thing that sets us apart is past experience and having some wonderful contacts. One of our goals in starting this project was to not just save the Horner House but also inspire/assist others in moving forward if they had a dream of saving an old house. When we started this blog, it was partly to document our progress but mainly to share what we learn with others. If we influence anyone else to travel the road to save an old home, we'll feel we've accomplished something special. If our journey assists anyone else in saving an old/historic home, we will feel doubly blessed. Soon, we'll be adding information on some of the companies or people who have assisted us to date. We hope others will find their assistance valuable, too.


  1. I just would like to say that I was born in this area of town and went to Christian park school. But my cousin lives in a house right by the horn ell house and everytime I'm fascinated by it and I decided to do a little research and that's how I found you. I didn't believe the house had an owner but now that I do, I would love to learn more about the house and sometime discuss the history and beauty of this house

  2. We do know a huge amount about the history of the house and we learn more all the time. Not just about the house itself, but the people, Irvington, and Christian Park. It has been such an exciting project and continues to be. We also have a Facebook page, where we occasionally share different tidbits, if you are on FB and if you ever see us outside when you are driving by, please stop and introduce yourself. I will talk your ear off about the house. :)