History

The Jeremiah Service House, commonly known as the Old Republic, was built in 1860 in the Italianate style for one of the most prominent families in New Carlisle. The architectural style was popular in the United States between 1850 and 1880 and is characterized by a square box-shape; central cupola; low pitched roof; tall narrow windows; and widely overhanging eaves with decorative scroll-sawn brackets beneath.  A small number of Italianate houses incorporated oriental elements.  The Jeremiah Service House features a Turkish-style, onion-shaped dome which tops the cupola.  The house is unique in that few residential buildings in the United States survive today which represent architectural motifs borrowed from the Far East.  The house has the honor of being designated a single-site historic district by the New Carlisle Historic Review Board, is listed in the National Register of Historic Places, and is an official project of the Save Americas Treasures Program.

THE SERVICE FAMILY…

Jeremiah Service was born on November 15, 1812 in Herkimer County, New York to Philip and Clara (Hall) Service.  It is reported by his grandson, Jerry Service that Jeremiah traveled west to the vicinity of New Carlisle in 1838, coming by canal boat via the Erie Canal to Buffalo, then by ship to Detroit, then on horseback to the New Carlisle area.  He made bricks at Hudson Lake and also taught school, while acquiring land in and around New Carlisle.  In 1847, Jeremiah married Sarah Ann Flanegin.  Sarah was born in Ohio in 1822 and traveled with her parents on a covered wagon to Hamilton.  There, her family operated a stage coach stop on the Chicago Road.  Together Jeremiah and Sarah had six children, George Hugh 1848, Mary Josephine 1850, Clara Gertrude 1852, Carrie May 1857, John Charles 1859 and Harriet 1861. Clara and Harriet died in childhood.

 

Jeremiah ran a dry goods store in New Carlisle.  His son, George eventually took over the store in 1867, while Jeremiah turned his interest to banking.  Together Jeremiah and George operated the Service and Sons Bank which was located in George’s dry goods store.  Jeremiah was a prominent and well known businessman in St. Joseph County.  He was very active politically and was a Whig before the Republican Party was established.  He served one term in the Indiana State legislature in 1852.  He held the office of justice of the peace for four years and was appointed postmaster in 1843.  Jeremiah was very involved in the affairs of New Carlisle.  In 1852 he deeded to school district No. 3, land for a public school building for $25.00.  He was elected Vice-President of an association to establish the Carlisle Collegiate Institute, and donated a lot to build the first Methodist Parsonage in 1854.  He was a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church and the A.F. & A.M. Lodge No. 204. In 189,8 the Service and Sons Bank burned to the ground.  That same year Jeremiah died.  Sarah continued to live in the house until her death in 1901.

 

NEW OWNERS…

In 1901 the house was sold to Guy and Arvilla Carpenter.  In the 1920’s the Carpenters passed the house on to their daughter, Grace Carpenter Holloway.  During the Holloway’s ownership, the upstairs was turned into apartments.

In 1950, the house was sold to Frances and Helen Vurpillat who occupied the home until 1968 when it was sold to Robert and Dixie Fish.  In 1970 the bank foreclosed on the property and ownership reverted to the bank.  In 1973, James Kile bought the house from the bank. Since then, the Old Republic has sat vacant and deteriorating open to the weather and a favorite site for vandalism.  Junk cars and auto parts were strewn over the yard and the house was basically used for storage.  With the threat of demolition by the owner and condemnation by the Town, Historic Landmarks Foundation of Indiana named the house to their “10 Most Endangered” list in 1998.  With assistance from Historic New Carlisle and Historic Landmarks Foundation, the Town took the owner to court as part of a receivership action which would allow Historic New Carlisle to be the receiver of the property in order to bring the house up to code.  The owner could then either pay the group back for the amount that was spent or the group could foreclose on the property, thereby becoming the owner.  The judge decided in the towns favor and awarded receivership to Historic New Carlisle, Inc. contingent on seeing a plan.  In the meantime, the owner decided to sell the house to Historic New Carlisle, Inc. which was purchased with a loan from Historic Landmarks Foundation.

 

THE ROAD TO RESTORATION…

Looking at a $1.4 million price tag for restoration, Historic New Carlisle, Inc. worked tirelessly to raise funds and applied for many grants in order to restore the house.  In 1999, Historic New Carlisle, Inc. through the Town received a $50,000 planning grant from the Indiana Department of Commerce to determine rehabilitation costs and end use options.  The group through the Town of New Carlisle was then awarded a Community Focus Fund grant from the Indiana Department of Commerce for $400,000.  Along with a $50,000 grant from the Department of Natural Resources, Division of Historic Preservation & Archaeology, a $75,000 Build Indiana grant, a loan from Historic Landmarks Foundation, contributions and proceeds from various fundraisers, the 1st phase of the project began in May 2001.   The first phase included restoring the exterior of the house, tuckpointing, new roof, rebuilding the porch, painting, window and door repair.  The first floor interior was also part of the project and included  refinishing the hardwood floors, plaster repair, painting, new HVAC, plumbing and electrical.  Site work was done as well, a new driveway and parking lot, the front yard was put back to its original gentle slope and many flowers and shrubs were donated and planted.  Work to decorate and paint the first floor was then started and in 2003 volunteers completely gutted and rehabbed the original summer kitchen for use as an office and local history museum. The second floor rehabilitation began in 2004 and was opened in May 2005 as The Inn at the Old Republic.

 

TODAY…

The Old Republic has been transformed to its original grandeur and serves as a visual reminder of New Carlisle’s past. The house now serves as a multi-use facility, housing Historic New Carlisle’s office and a local history museum. The first floor is used by HNC for many programs such as teas, luncheons, exhibits, tours, presentation, and can also be rented by the public for special events such as weddings, showers, graduation and anniversary parties.  The Inn at the Old Republic features four beautiful bedrooms on the second floor for overnight accommodations.

 

Click to view the Restoration Slideshow