WABASH, Ind. (WANE) — From houses that predate the American Civil War to a structure previously used a both a home and a jail, an upcoming tour will showcase some of the most historic homes Wabash has to offer.
Organized by Indiana Landmarks, the self-guided tour will feature six homes in Wabash dating from 1849 to 1972 that highlight “diverse architecture, historic rehabilitations underway and completed transformation.”
Paul Hayden, director of the Northeast Field Office of Indiana Landmarks, said some of the houses featured on the tour have already been restored, while others will still be undergoing renovations.
However, he also said each of the homes and their corresponding conditions will offer something for everyone.
“We’re showing houses that are beautifully restored and a couple that are in the works of being renovated to just show people what is involved in getting a house from a kind of rough condition to the restored condition,” Hayden said.
The tour will take place Saturday, Oct. 14., from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Tickets cost $15 in advance or $20 when bought the day of the tour, and tickets can be purchased online.
On Friday, WANE 15 traveled to Wabash to get a sneak peek and an inside look at some of the hours featured on the tour:
Alber House (45 E. Sinclair St.)
The oldest house on the tour is the Alber House, which was built over just 10 days in 1849.
The original owner, Philip Alber, lived on the upper floor and operated a German-style cafe on the lower level of the house, according to Indiana Landmarks.
In 2016, a former owner of the Alber House donated the property to Indiana Landmarks so the organization could restore the house, which had been slated for demolition and needed repairs.
After repairing the Alber House, Indiana Landmarks sold the property to Tim Parnell and Ed Norman, two people described by the organization as “experienced old house restorers.”
“The outside really was amazing, and we fell in love with it,” Parnell said.
Norman said a lot of restoration work had went into the Alber House before purchasing it, but he and Parnell still had plenty of work to do on the house as well.
“It is almost like a house inside a house now,” Norman said of the restoration process.
Parnell said his favorite aspect of the house is how it has three floors and has a “blend of old and new.”
“It’s a great eclectic display of an old house,” Parnell said.
Sayre House (143 E. Main St.)
The original owner, Warren Grover Sayre, served as the mayor of Wabash, a state senator and as Speaker of the Indiana House of Representatives during his lifetime.
Around 1900, roughly 30 years after the house was built, Sayre built a two-story addition onto the rear of the home, according to Indiana Landmarks.
According to Indiana Landmarks, the Sayre House was converted to apartments many years after the original owner roamed its halls, but the structure’s architectural features remained largely intact.
Indiana Landmarks purchased the Sayre House in an auction and later sold it to Andrew and Brittany Bain, who have since renovated the home with a mixture of traditional architecture and modern amenities.
Caldwell House (189 N. Wabash St.)
The first owner of the Caldwell House, Elizabeth Caldwell, was the widow of a former Wabash County sheriff who built the house in 1875 and lived in the house until her death in 1900, according to Indiana Landmarks.
In 1940, a Fort Wayne architect built a two-story addition on the house’s south side and renovated the interior of the house.
In 2020, Indiana Landmarks purchased the Caldwell House, which had previously been vacant and neglected, before renovating it and transforming it into Waypoint Wabash, which serves as a transitional facility for women recovering from substance abuse.
Morse House (218 E. Main St.)
Built in 1880, the Morse House first served as the home of a prominent banker before other owners had the home divided into four apartments, according to Indiana Landmarks.
In 2020, Indiana Landmarks purchased the house with plans to revert it to a single-family home.
Currently, Indiana Landmarks still owns the Morse House, but the house will be available for purchase when improvements have been made.
According to Indiana Landmarks, the house still retains many of its original features, including multiple fireplaces and a curved black walnut staircase.
Instead of having wood or marble fireplaces, the remaining fireplaces within the Morse House are made out of iron, Hayden said.
During the tour, the Morse House will also serve as headquarters where guests can purchase tickets.
Paul Hayden, a director within Indiana Landmarks, gives an overview of the Morse House
Wabash Sheriff’s House and Jail (31 W. Main St.)
Fort Wayne architects designed the hybrid structure in 1880 that featured both a living space for the sheriff and cellblocks, which was common in the Midwest until the early 1900s, according to Indiana Landmarks.
The building served as the Wabash County Jail until 1979, when the new county jail was built right next to the original.
The Wabash Sheriff’s House and Jail also sits across from the Wabash County Courthouse.
In 2016, Indiana Landmarks acquired the Wabash Sheriff’s House and Jail from the Wabash County Commissioners in order to prevent the building from being demolished.
In 2021, Joshua Baxter purchased the building and has since created professional offices on the first floor and loft apartments on the third floor.
WANE 15 received a tour of the Wabash Sheriff’s House and Jail in 2020 before its renovations, which can be viewed below.
Geyer House (459 E. Hill St.)
The Geyer House, which is the only house featured on the tour not built in the 19th Century, is a California Contemporary-style house that was built in 1972, according to Indiana Landmarks.
The house used to feature a carport, but a later owner converted it into a sunroom with wall-to-wall windows.
The Geyer House now features a fully-renovated kitchen and a new detached garage designed to imitate the designs and color schemes of the original house.