damages historic Sullivan House
says restoration will be costly
(October 2008) In 1818, attorney Jeremiah
Sullivan had a mansion built at 324 W. Second St., in Madison, Ind.,
which experts claim is one of the best examples in the Northwest Territories
of Federal style architecture. For nearly two centuries, the home has
stood elegantly despite being threatened by floods, tornadoes and other
perilous weather events. That is, until hurricane-like winds swept through
the Ohio River Valley and severely damaged the historic landmark.
by Don Ward
historic Jeremiah Sullivan
House, one of Historic Madison Inc.s
properties, sustained extensive damage
following a Sept. 14 windstorm.
On Sunday, Sept. 14, strong winds, with gusts exceeding
70 mph, ravaged the landscape of Jefferson County, Ind., and neighboring
cities and towns. Thousands of old, stately trees were uprooted or snapped
in half, and hundreds of thousands of people were left in the dark as
electric poles were snapped. Generators were blown and power lines were
The Sullivan House, one of the 16 historic properties owned by Historic
Madison Inc., was severely damaged when a tree shattered a portion of
the roof and collapsed the east wall of the mansion. Two chimneys along
the wall were also severely damaged.
While the damage is extensive, it is repairable, said HMIs
Heidi Valco Kruggel. We are working on a temporary stabilization
at this point, and once we know the extent of the damage, we will begin
taking bids for the actual restoration on the home.
An architectural engineer from Indianapolis-based Ratio Architects came
to the site to survey the damage and concluded that the foundation
is stable, said Kruggel.
No timeline has been set as to when the actual restoration will begin
or what it will cost. We estimate that repairs may run into the
hundreds of thousands of dollars, said Kruggel. We are looking
at different resources and options for how to finance the restoration.
Madison-based Artful Living Co., 313 W. Main St., is in charge of the
temporary stabilization. Brian Martin, an architectural designer and
construction manager at Artful Living, said his crew has been working
with HMI in an effort to make sure the cleanup and salvage work on the
property are done correctly. Right now, things look like an archaeological
dig, he said. We want to salvage any bricks, glass and wood
that can be used for the actual restoration or for use as samples for
later educational purposes.
Among the work his crew is doing is to set up scaffolding along the
damaged wall to shore up support, carefully clean debris out of the
building, and secure the tarp that is protecting the roof. We
are cataloging everything we find, he said.
His team is also going to construct a temporary wall to close the interior
of the building off. We are working as hard as we can because
we are concerned about the interior being exposed to harmful weather,
animals or other problems.
He said many of the interior furnishings have been removed from the
property to assess for damage and for safekeeping during the restoration
Artful Living Co hopes to also bid on the actual restoration process
when HMI gets a better assessment on exactly how extensive the situation
is and what needs to be done.
The Sullivan house is a two-story brick, Federal style dwelling that
exhibits fine delicate tapered reeded columns between the entrance door
and sidelights, and an elliptical fanlight above.
The interior is furnished in period furnishings. The basement kitchen
with brick floor and stone fireplace is furnished in period and demonstrates
a typical Madison kitchen of the time. On the first floor is a restored
federal serving kitchen, the rear yard contains an interpretation of
a period bake oven and smokehouse.
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