Moving historic Fishers house from development site could cost $100K

June 17, 2014
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Slated for demolition last week, the historic Flanagan House in Fishers has been granted a reprieve—at least for the time being.

Preservation advocates met Monday with property owner Thompson Thrift to discuss alternatives for the two-story brick home at the southwest corner of 106th Street and Kincaid Drive, just east of Interstate 69.

Flanagan House, FishersKnown as both the Flanagan House and the Kincaid House, this brick house in Fishers was built in the 1860s. (IBJ photo/Andrea Muirragui Davis)

The developer and local partners acquired the house along with the rest of the 70-acre Delaware Park commercial subdivision earlier this year. Located near a planned I-69 interchange, the property is zoned for retail, office and industrial use.

Thompson Thrift weighed options for the building months ago but couldn't find anyone willing to invest the estimated $100,000-$130,000 needed to move it even a short distance, said Ashlee Boyd, senior vice president of the development firm.

So the company decided the raze the 1860s-era structure, salvaging bricks, lumber and other "aesthetic features" for use elsewhere in Fishers. Thompson Thrift delayed the work scheduled for June 9 amid outcry from organizations including Indianapolis-based heavyweight Indiana Landmarks.

Interested parties met Monday to brainstorm ways to save the building and agreed to reconvene in a couple weeks, said Emily Compton, a member of the Noblesville Preservation Alliance who attended the private confab.

At this point, relocating the structure seems to be the most viable option, she said. But pulling that off will require finding a new site and partners with deep pockets.

“It’s a little scary but also exciting because of the possibilities,” Compton said. “Who knows what we can come up with?”

Thompson Thrift plans to use Kincaid Drive as the entrance to its retail-and-office development, Boyd said, and the 106th Street frontage will be prime property. The company is open to the idea of moving the house within Delaware Park (which will be rebranded), but he said ongoing maintenance costs would be an issue.

"We had a good discussion, but I think everyone acknowledges the logistical and financial challenges of moving a home like that," Boyd said.

A source of funding would need to be identified in the next few weeks to save the house, he said.

The Flanagan family purchased the farm from southern land prospectors in 1853, Hamilton County historian David Heighway said after reviewing ownership records, and the house likely was built  in the next 10 years.

The house is solid brick, with 13-inch-thick walls, said Dan Kincaid, whose grandfather bought the property in 1934—a dozen years after he founded the still-operating L.E. Kincaid & Sons meat market at 56th and Illinois streets in Indianapolis.

Dan’s father, Donald, purchased the farm in 1961. Around the turn of the current century, Donald Kincaid invested about $80,000 to refurbish the exterior of the house, sandblasting the brick and replacing the roof, doors, windows and exterior trim.

He ran out of energy and interest before getting to the time-worn living quarters, Dan Kincaid said. Over the years, “treasure hunters” have damaged the interior, he said. Built without an indoor bathroom, the home has never had a furnace.

The Kincaid family lost the property during the recession, Dan Kincaid said. Thompson Thrift and its partners acquired it from a Nevada investment firm.

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  • Leave it there
    I say leave it there, let it stand as a monument the farming area this land used to be. I'd like to see what TT has in mind that requires it to be demolished.
    • History
      We need to be the stuarts of our past. Leave it there. Make it a tourist site and give tours have a cafe added near or on it. Make it a destenation. It was there first.
    • Farm House
      It should stay where it is! Spruce up the inside and open it for tours! I'd love to see the inside!
    • Torn
      I appreciate the age of this house, but is it really historic? Nothing of any relevance ever happened there. It just seems odd that there hasn't been any interest in it for years until a day before demo. I wonder how much of the hoopla is just an aversion to change rather than a desire to preserve history. If it is the latter, by all means pool some resources and do something with it. Leaving it where it is without investment doesn't make any sense.
      • Preservation
        I thought there had been some mention of this having been a stagecoach stop at some point? Regardless, this is one of the oldest properties, and in relatively good shape, in Hamilton County. I drive by this home on a daily basis and it deserves to be preserved, one way or another. Do we really need to destroy something approximately 150+ years old in the name of progress? And, what defines progress: more industrial/office/retail development? Really? In Europe, buildings of this age are considered new construction! I can remember standing in Florence, Italy, while European tourists snapped photos of themselves in front of the newest building they'd seen in years: constructed in 1900.
        • Entry Monument?
          OK, so it has no indoor plumbing and it sounds like the inside is not in good condition. Leave it there and require TT or a private group to use it as either an entry monument/focal point -- perhaps with seating areas inside -- and green space around it. This home is a treasure I have admired for 25 years and I don't want to see it go. How sad that it was lovingly restored on the outside only to be under appreciated,unfinished, and razed. Tragic.
        • Save it!!!
          It would be nice to know further facts about the history of this house to really clarify historical significance before we start bulldozing it. At the same time, this has to be one of the oldest structures in Central Indiana. Let's try to save this structure and use it as a monument to this state's and area's history.
          • What to do with something that no longer serves it's intended purpose?
            I would like to challenge everyone who says leave it where it stands to take $10,000 out of their savings and buy a share in this property. Then I would like those of you who have done that to consider the fact that you now own a piece of raw materials that when originally put together served a purpose. Those raw materials are now simply sitting, unused and incapable of being used without you investing another $10,000. Now, please face the reality that the ground on which your raw materials sit is owned by somebody else. You will now need to take another $10,000 of your money and move this pile of raw materials to another location that you will have to take another $10,000 of your money to purchase. Are you starting to get the picture? It's easy to tell someone else to spend their money. When it is your money, there are probably some better uses for it than preserving a nicely constructed pile of raw materials.
            • Easy to require other people to do things
              I'm with Robert B. on this issue. Having been in development for over 30 years, I have seen this drama played out many times in many locations. It's easy to say, "Make the developer preserve it!" It doesn't cost anyone anything...except the property owner. Pretty tough to throw the confiscatory power of the state at a company so that people can still enjoy driving past the home. If people truly value historic structures the way they say, they should be willing to invest their time and money in preservation efforts. The sad fact is only a very small group will dedicate a very small amount of financial resources to actually preserving historic views and buildings. Anybody in architecture and construction knows how challenging it is to adapt a historic home to properly fit within the context of a new site plan and function as a business. Keeping it open for tours is just plain silly. Who will pay for that? Utilities, insurance, maintenance, security, staffing, etc. I guess as long as you're reaching into someone else's pocket, you just reach a little deeper. And the buildings do not lend themselves to re-use. Their floor plans reflect residential use and their structural characteristics reflect the construction techniques and materials of a bygone era. Any successful non-residential re-use requires massive upgrades in modernizing the basic building systems. These are complex, expensive problems to solve, so why would the owner (who doesn't want a historic residence)have to bear the sole burden? Having said all that, I am always happy to see one of these buildings properly re-purposed. I just don't think it falls on the property owner to provide a public good. If the public wants it, the public should pay for it. Try to raise the money, but give the owner a reasonable time frame to execute Plan B (demolition) and make some economic use of the land.
            • Has to be new not old
              Tear it down. Pete Peterson has work boots older than this place. Fishers folks like everything new, not old.
            • Save our history
              Please save this treasure! Failure to appreciate history will continue to haunt our future. Perhaps nothing of significance occurred at this property, but it is one of the oldest examples of beautiful architecture and history in Hamilton county. What is so important that we need to destroy a link to our past? Let it stand where it belongs!
              • It could be saved or used
                Contrary to the other Robert B., I believe it is worthwhile to move or invest in an adaptive reuse of the property. There is very little worth preserving in current new development. Preservation is worth the effort.
              • Tear it Down
                Tear it down unless a private group wants to foot the bill to move the building. Just because something is old or has been in a spot for a long time doesn't mean it has any significance. I'm not for bulldozing this location for the sake of another suburban wasteland development, but there's no reason to spend $100,000 to save an average brick home.
                • New Information
                  Please see the Facebook page entitled: SAVE The Flanagan House - General Won Very First CIVIL WAR Battle

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                1. John, unfortunately CTRWD wants to put the tank(s) right next to a nature preserve and at the southern entrance to Carmel off of Keystone. Not exactly the kind of message you want to send to residents and visitors (come see our tanks as you enter our city and we build stuff in nature preserves...

                2. 85 feet for an ambitious project? I could shoot ej*culate farther than that.

                3. I tried, can't take it anymore. Untill Katz is replaced I can't listen anymore.

                4. Perhaps, but they've had a very active program to reduce rainwater/sump pump inflows for a number of years. But you are correct that controlling these peak flows will require spending more money - surge tanks, lines or removing storm water inflow at the source.

                5. All sewage goes to the Carmel treatment plant on the White River at 96th St. Rainfall should not affect sewage flows, but somehow it does - and the increased rate is more than the plant can handle a few times each year. One big source is typically homeowners who have their sump pumps connect into the sanitary sewer line rather than to the storm sewer line or yard. So we (Carmel and Clay Twp) need someway to hold the excess flow for a few days until the plant can process this material. Carmel wants the surge tank located at the treatment plant but than means an expensive underground line has to be installed through residential areas while CTRWD wants the surge tank located further 'upstream' from the treatment plant which costs less. Either solution works from an environmental control perspective. The less expensive solution means some people would likely have an unsightly tank near them. Carmel wants the more expensive solution - surprise!

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