One Year Later

Reindollars consider rebuilding

Maywood bricks to be used in
Dotti's memory at Eleutherian

By Ben Fronczek
Staff Writer

MADISON, Ind. • One year ago this month, one of Madison's most treasured houses went up in flames. In the early morning fire that destroyed Maywood, Madison also lost one of its most treasured citizens Dotti Reindollar.
Dotti and her husband, Vernay, had lived in the 150-year old mansion at 226 Maywood Lane since 1966.  The house caught fire in the early morning hours of Saturday, Jan. 29, 2000. The Reindollars escaped the blaze, but Dotti was found lying in the snow-covered yard. She later died of heart failure.
She had been an active community member for years, particularly in the restoration of Eleutherian College in Lancaster, Ind.

To keep her memory and work alive, remaining bricks from Maywood have been taken to Eleutherian College, where they will be used to restore original chimneys that once existed on the building. "There were eight chimneys on the original college building," said Vernay Reindollar. "In the last 34 years, they put on a new roof but took off the chimneys. They needed brick that was of the same period as that on the college. The long range plan is to restore that building."
In addition to private contributions, a grant was recently awarded by the Central Indiana Community Foundation's Efromson Fund to help pay for renovating the roof. "We who worked with her on the committee knew she wanted the chimneys completed," said Jae Breitweiser, who in 1990 bought the college with Dotti. Breitweiser is still working to preserve it.
"She is still very much a part of it, and I feel that daily. I hope she knows."
The Reindollar family is also still involved in preserving Eleutherian College. Vernay and his son, Brook, sit on Eleutherian's board of directors.
In addition to the Eleutherian restoration, Vernay and his four grown children have considered rebuilding Maywood. The Reindollar children live in various parts of the United States: Brook, 37, in Cincinnati; Mary, 35, in Idaho; Amanda, 31, in North Carolina and Vernay Jr., 38, in Florida.
"It's been hard to figure out a way to make it happen because everyone is so scattered," said Brook Reindollar. 
"We've been trying to come up with a floor plan, so it sounds like we're building again. It has a lot to do with the sentimental value of the house."
Of the family's belongings, only three sets of flatware were saved after they were found protected from the fire under a fallen wall. The family paid to have them cleaned. Soon after the fire, family members discussed with Marsh Davis of the Historic Landmarks Found-ation of Indiana about restoring the home. Davis sent the foundation's restoration expert to look at the house. He affirmed the possibility of rebuilding.
"It's a family matter and a highly personal one," Davis said by telephone in Dec-ember. "If they want to rebuild, they could. But it is they who need to decide. We were very fond of Dotti and the house, and if there is any way we can assist, we will if they want us to."
Vernay Reindollar said in December that no final decision had been made but planned to discuss it over the holidays with his children.
The house was originally built in the early 1830s by Shadrack Wilbur, who was also its first owner, according to "The Early Architecture of Madison," a 1986 book by John T. Windle and Robert M. Taylor Jr. It originally stood as a 11/2 story farmhouse. A mansured roof was later added.
Other occupants before the Reindollars included U.S. Navy Capt. Bushrod Taylor; J.F.D. Lanier's granddaughter, Drusilla Cravens, who added the front portico and columns; and Dr. George and Mildred May, who owned it until the Reindollars purchased it.
Dotti Reindollar's other community involvements included the Madison City Council, the Madison Area Chamber of Commerce board of directors, the Visitors Council, Historic Madison Inc., and countless other boards, committees and volunteer projects. 
"She was a very unselfish person," said Breitweiser. "She gave so much of her life to the community."

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