Owner rejects bids for western Indiana historic site

The owner of western Indiana historic site Billie Creek Village said he's decided not to sell it piecemeal to auction bidders who only wanted parts of the property, and he hopes to find a buyer who will reopen the site.

No bids were made for the entire 70-acre property along U.S. 36 near Rockville at last week's auction. Top bids of $250,000 were made for the village site, $280,000 for its adjourning farmland and $10,000 for the parking lot area.

"I want to keep the village all together. I don't want it split up into three parcels," Charlie Cooper, owner of the property and chairman of the not-for-profit Billie Creek Village Inc., told the Tribune-Star for a story Friday.

The village that was started in the 1960s includes a wooden covered bridge, several 1800s-era buildings that were moved there, a party pavilion and antiques, equipment and inventory from a general store.

Cooper bought a controlling interest in the village about four years ago when it was struggling financially.

Cooper said he's been approached by people by people interested in keeping the village open.

"So I'll get something worked out with it," he said.

Cooper, who turned 81 Tuesday, said he's simply too old to continue running the operation. The retired Parke County sheriff and bank president farms 1,000 acres of land with his son and said it's time for someone else to manage the site.

The village about 25 miles north of Terre Haute is closed for the season, but is continuing to host special events such as a wedding scheduled for this weekend.

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