Historic Lakeview

Like so many other county poor farms, the White County Commissioners voted to discontinue service at their facility at the end of 2010.  And, like so many other county farms, the building and land were in jeopardy of being razed and redeveloped.

However, most county homes aren't lakefront properties like the Lakeview Home in Monticello.  It is situated on a bluff overlooking Indiana Beach on Lake Shaffer.  Concerned that "Lakeview" land offered "lake views" some concerned White County residents banded together to see what could be done to save the 100+ year old home.  The thought was to make the building eligible for tax credits by listing it on the National Register so when it went to auction it may entice the right buyer.

The building was designed by a noted local architect, but it should also be noted that by this time a booklet had been developed by the State of Indiana called "Public Charities in Indiana" which was essentially a guideline to design of state hospitals, prisons, orphanages, county jails and county homes.  With any familiarity at all of county homes after about 1890, one can identify the common design features and layout quickly:  middle part/administration and superintendents' quarters, left and right wings/resident dormitories, the rear wing/kitchen and dining, and typically a small addition on the back or a separate building that had actual jail cells with steel bars.  Only the exterior architectural design features and details varied from county to county.  Most county homes employed the Romanesque style, or variants of the Queen Anne or Classical styles.  Here is a link to the1904 book: The Development of Public Charities in Indiana

The "poor farms" were self-sufficient.  They had enough acreage to maintain livestock and grow food for the residents.  Able residents worked the fields and with livestock, if they were men, and worked in the garden or laundry and kitchen duties if they were women.  Barns (most of which have been the first to disappear from the county farm complex), orchards, and even cemeteries.  Frequently the county farms were far enough removed from town cemeteries that paupers' graves were dug in one corner of the poor farm.  Marshall County's poor farm cemetery was razed by over-zealous county commissioners and tenet farmers; the exact location has been lost.

White County's county home still has one barn and another shed remaining on the property-but the main house is intact with only minor remodeling.  It has the prescribed layout associated with Indiana's county home model including an attached jail wing on the back of the building.  It also has an impressive entryway down a long alee of trees.  The county separated the farmland and auctioned the house and its lakeview site.  The developer seems sensitive to the history of the home and can access tax credits since it was listed on the National Register in 2011.


Jim said…
I knew nothing about Indiana's poor farms - thanks for the education!
Anonymous said…
Carroll County is very fortunate that theirs is still functional. It contains elements of construction similar to Lakeview but is smaller.
We have an entire notebook at the Carroll County Historical Society devoted to this facility. Visitors are encouraged to browse through its pages during the Museum's open hours of T, Th, and Fri from 9-4. Mark A. Smith, Coordinator, CCHS Museum.
Unknown said…
Thanks so much for this very helpful article. Please keep it available on line, The building you write about here is being demolished as I write this. Thanks for knowing how much this building has meant and how remarkable it has been as architecture.
Unknown said…
You are encouraged to look into what has been happening at the Lakeview home in the last few days: 2 large excavation machines blockaccess to the main entrance,
--- the turf around the entire building has been scraped away
---Steps to one porch have been removed,n --and guttering has been pulled down and thrown behind the building.

Would someone please care about stopping this?
Was a permit issues or court order issued for any of this destruction?

A painted sign at the road reads: "for Sale--15 acres vacant land". How is someone defining vacant land if a historic building is on that land? (312 area code on phone number on sign)
Monticello lost a great deal in the tornado of 1974. The losses include historic buildings , homes, and the historic White County Courthouse...

We need the historic Lakeview Home to stand
Anonymous said…
Following up on preparations by persons unknown to bring this historic building down:
--I ask you to be quick and go to photograph if you wish any photos for yourselves of this rare historic building.....
--real estate agents in the area were not given advance warning of imminent demolition; why not?
--one response to a phone call by me stated as follows: "The Lakeview Home is going to be demolished. It is privately owned. He has a right to do it. That's just how it is."
--I am sorry the Lakeview Home was sold by White County in the first place. I am very sorry that a general sleepy attitude exists at this time, so callously unconcerned about our history.
--Acres and acres of undeveloped land are close by. This ste is just 15 acres and not quite that.
--The site is quite sacenic in a mysterious way that would be excellent for making movies. If you know any moview producers, send them to the Lakeview Home site now, please
Anonymous said…
This is to correct the previous comment and make it more useful:

Following up on preparation of the Lakeview Home site by persons unknown who intend,it would seem, to bring this historic building down:

I ask you to be quick if you wish any photos for yourselves of this rare historic building.

As of Saturday, May 27, 2017, the fallen trees and broken concrete steps had been carted away.
Bright orange numbers 2, 3, 4 are still chalked on different parts of the building. The excavation equipment can be seen behind the building; the old wooden barn is gone now.

Several phone calls were made to find out status of the building. It seems some local real estate agents who sell land in the area have not been given warning of the demolition. Why?Further, intended use of the land, once vacant, is still unclear. I would point out that acres and acres of vacant land are for sale close by, while the Lakeview Site is not quite !5 acres. A public boat launch on the Tippecanoe River is accessible just beyond the town of Norway, also very close by. Location, location, location.

A response to one of my phone calls was as follows:
"The Lakeview Home is going to be demolished. It is privately owned. He has a right to do it. That's just how it is."

Well, maybe. But were all the possibilities for the Lakeview Home carefully looked into?

The Lakeview Home site is quite scenic in a mysterious way that would be excellent for making movies. So now, if you know how to get in touch with movie production companies,
would you send them to the Lakeview Home site, please. Or make your own film, perhaps.

In closing: I am sorry that White County government sold the Lakeview Home, and very sorry about a pervasive sleepy attitude in general so unconcerned about our history.

The point that we need to be careful what we ask government to do for us could be made here. Even if some think it is beyond the scope of a blog comment on our history.

(The website for Trulia has a number of older interior and exterior photos of the building; the "for sale"address is 5271 Norway Road, Monticello, Indiana,47960.

Further, schematics and photos, plus a beautiful presentation by Kurt West Garner (January, 2010)to nominate the Lakeview Home for the National Register, are all
available at a National Register for Historic Preservation link as follows: "National Register of Historic Places Inventory Nomination Form: White County Asylum PDF" Maybe just search White County Asylum 2010...

Good luck
Anonymous said…
Tearing down the Lakeview Home began week of June 4 through June 10, and continues this coming week

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