Open Door

Open Door
Indianapolis, Indiana

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The Old Wagon – Part 2

Last spring we liberated what was left of an old wagon from the tree that held it pinned in place on the Horner House grounds. It was obviously old, but beyond that we knew little to nothing about it. So back in the fall when I was stuck in bed I started looking on the internet to try and get some information about it. In the process we found several interesting things.

The first was an article by Sam Moore from 2003 titled ”Electric Wheel Co. Titans of the Steel Wheel Business.” This is posted on It’s a good site that gave us a lot of general information about wagons.

The second thing that we learned is that the EWC on one of the wheels stands for the Electric Wheel Company. The company was founded in 1890 by John A. Stillwell and is still in business today under the name Titan.

The third thing we learned was not from the internet. We don’t have an exact date on the wagon yet, but we talked to several people at the State Fair from the Pioneer Village. While we know it will take some work to return the wagon to its original state we were thinking of donating it to a museum if they were interested in it. Unfortunately we learned that these are so expensive to rebuild that that it’s not in the budget of most museums. It was even suggested that we just scrap it! So for now it’s going back into the mothballs to await the day that we can give it the love it’s been missing.


Thursday, August 15, 2013

August 2013 Update

While the last few months have not been busy for the Horner House, they have been very busy for us. Eric has been working seven days a week keeping the business going and I (Amanda) have spent the last four months mostly focused on my health. I went through over a dozen specialists locally and I have now been to the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota twice. While we still don’t have any answers they have been working hard to try and at least get me back some of my strength and energy. So until November I’m home and trying to work on all the things that have piled up in the last few months.

That brings me to the houses… The Horner House is still there and doing okay. We’ve tried to keep the grass mowed and are planning on doing some more cutting back on the poison ivy and other insidious trees and plants that are growing too close to the house and fences. We have been doing battle with Mother Nature for over two years now and are happy to say that we are slowly reclaiming the property. For now this has to be enough.

The Bungalow is still pretty much in a holding pattern. We need the design for the structural issue and a shopping list and then we can get started in it again. If everything goes well, that should be within the next two to three weeks. Then we can get back to work on the kitchen and bathroom.

The Beech Grove house still needs work too. I should be meeting JR and Greg from Jacoby next week to get started on it too. We need new siding, a roof, gutters, and awnings from the hail damage. It also needs some new porches and sidewalks, a new kitchen floor, new windows, and a few other miscellaneous items before we put it on the market. But even with all of that I feel closer to moving than I have so far. Of course, that could be because literally half my house is already packed and ready to go. :D

So like a train that has an uphill track from the station, we are beginning to creak back into motion. Next post will be Tuesday.


Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Finding a New Contractor – Part 4 - Making the Decision

It has been awhile since we have posted regularly and I will be putting out a general update on Thursday. But since we haven’t talked about the Horner House much in the last few months, I wanted to go ahead and get back to it for all of you who have been so patient with us. So we are going straight to the fourth episode in our search for a contractor…

During our search we met with a number of companies that I believe would have done a good job on not just the Horner House, but our other two homes as well. But in the end there were two that we had to decide between.

The first was VIP Home Solutions. They were suggested to me by a flooring company that I had been talking to. So, I stopped in and asked if they did historical restoration work and was pleasantly surprised to find out that they do. I got to meet the owner and spent close to an hour talking to him about out manifold projects. There were a number of things that impressed me about this company, right from the beginning and all the way through our meeting with them. One thing is that they never had a problem speaking to a woman, and never treated me like I was stupid or outright suggested that it would be better for them to talk to Eric. Sad to say, but that very behavior got a couple of other companies marked off the list. Overall they were knowledgeable, easy to get a hold of, took as much time as needed to answer all of my questions. But most important of all they were very conscious of the safety issues this project presents for the workers. Jim is a great guy and I was sad that I had to choose just one company because I think that he would be wonderful to work with.

In the end though, we did have to choose just one, and that company is Jacoby and Associates. I met Greg Miller, the President and Owner, at the Home Show. It had been a long day for me and by then I was not at my best, but Greg was very patient and asked all the right questions. It was obvious that he has a passion for the work he does and old houses too. He has also done quite a bit of work on other historical homes that are under protective restrictions, including those covered by Indiana Landmarks. So, we set up a meeting and Greg and JR came out to look at both the Horner House and the Bungalow. After looking it over they were still interested in our project and already had some very good ideas on how to proceed.

The other great part of working with Jacoby is that Greg has done quite a bit of design work so he will be helping with that as well. Before we go too much further we will have to make many decisions such as where to put the back stairs and how to create access to the third floor. We will also need to choose a HVAC system and Jacoby has the knowledge and contacts to help us with that too.   

So while we had many good companies talk to us I think that we have found one that is a great fit for our project and we are looking forward to working with them!


Thursday, August 8, 2013

What do you get when you mix the National Historical Register and the Indiana State Fair?

A ceremony at the DNR Amphitheater where we were awarded certificates for the listing of the Horner-Terrill House on the State and National Historic Registers!

And the National Park Service already has us listed on their website at

In total 36 properties were listed this last year and we got to see pictures of 18 of them. Congratulations to the Emerson Avenue Historic District on their listing! It was nice to see Steve Barnett, of the Irvington Historical Society, who was there to pick up Emerson’s Certificate.

That’s it for today, but Tuesday we’ll post again!