Endangered historic Connersville mansion saved by local couple’s purchase

A Connersville, Indiana couple helped save an endangered historic mansion, promising to preserve it for years to come. 

The Newkirk Mansion at 317-321 Western Avenue was put on Indiana Landmarks’ 2017 Most Endangered List. In order to save it from future decay and vandalism.

The mansion was built in 1880 by William Newkirk, the owner of a manufacturing company. The house is full of handmade woodwork. It’s seen many different owners since that time, including Mike and Jenny Sparks, who bought it this week from Indiana Landmarks. 

“We owned the house from 1987 to the early ‘90s,” Mike Sparks said, via Indiana Landmarks . “We sold it so our two boys could grow up on our farm in the country outside Connersville. We really loved the house. It was in great shape when we lived there. Clean, dry, no leaks.”

To save the house, Indiana Landmarks bought it for $65,000, then sold it to the Sparks family.  

“Shame on us if we couldn’t save a place like the Newkirk Mansion,” said Marsh Davis, president of Indiana Landmarks. “We took a $9,000 loss from our Efroymson Family Endangered Places Fund, and we consider it well worth the cost. Mike and Jenny Sparks understand what the property needs and they felt they couldn’t pay more, given the amount they will have to invest to restore it.”

A lot of work is required to restore and stabilize the house. The couple intends to replace a mirror destroyed by vandals. They’ve already cleared the overgrowth around the house, and plan on fixing the roof to make sure it’s airtight for winter.

This amazing Greek Revival home was formerly known as the Thomas J. Lalor Residence

Bring this beautiful lady back to life! They do not build homes with this type of detail and craftsmanship anymore. This amazing Greek Revival home was formerly known as the Thomas J. Lalor Residence, sits on over an acre of land in the center of town and is commercially zoned. Some of the big items have been completed (new roof, replacement windows, new septic) but the home still requires extensive work. 

The grand center hall and staircase greet you as you enter through the front double entry doors with very detailed and ornate woodworking detail throughout. The other period features include granite posts and stairs, hardwoods, fireplace surrounds, light fixtures and plantation shutters. The old servant quarters have been gutted and are awaiting the new owners vision to make as grand as the rest of the home.

‘Uninhabitable’ 1887 House Is Lovingly Restored To Its Former Glory

For a long time, a house in York, PA, stood falling apart, its shingles and siding crumbling, and its once-beautiful details being slowly hidden under layers of dust and rubble.

It didn’t always look like the sagging, washed-out shadow of its former self, though. Built in 1887, this house was designed in the Queen Anne style, which features a lot of delicate brick detailing, contrasting trims, large porches, and lots of beautiful decorative details.

The five-bedroom, three-bathroom house was beautiful and solidly built, but everything needs care if it’s to stay in good shape. And sadly, no one had cared for this house in a very long time, and had no one stepped in, the house might have been a total loss.

Luckily, though, someone saw its potential, and the value in restoring a piece of architectural history. After all, seeing different kinds of old buildings gives character to any area, and teaches us about what happened in days past. As one makeover showed us, there was a time when people bought their houses in kits from Sears.

Check out the makeover that this old house underwent, and see how beautiful it is today.

This was what the house looked like before anyone took an interest in it.

You can see its detail and beauty, but all of that was hidden under years of neglect and exposure to the elements. At this point, it was declared uninhabitable.

Luckily, though, it wouldn’t be long before someone would give it a second chance.

Today? It doesn’t even look like the same house!

Everything has been lovingly restored, and enriched with these warm, inviting shades of olive green, terra cotta red, and gold.

It certainly looks much more inviting, doesn’t it?

The inside has been restored, too, with the restorers salvaging what they could, and faithfully replacing what they couldn’t.


Today, the floors are composed, luxuriously, out of five different types of wood, and splashes of color and light come in thanks to these stained glass panels.

Each room is full of stunning details and accessories, all creating a feeling of timeless charm and coziness.


The rooms have all been decorated carefully, and each one has its own vibrant color scheme, like this pink dining room.

And the kitchen is a wonderful slice of history, too.

Of course, it’s complete with modern appliances, because there’s no reason you can’t have historic charm andmodern convenience!

There’s a cozy stove, perfect for curling up next to with a good book.

Upstairs, each of the five bedrooms also has its own decorating scheme and unique charm.

Right now, the house is actually licensed as a bed-and-breakfast, and would really be a perfect little getaway.

Of course, it could be used by a family as a home, too.

There’s even this lovely, sunny room that would be perfect as a workspace.

And there’s a little hideout in the finished attic, a great place to hang out on a rainy day and chat, play, and craft.

As you can see, there are already some hobbies up here, like a guitar and even a spinning wheel — not exactly a common hobby these days, but being in this house, you might want to give it a try!

It’s amazing what kind of transformations can take place when someone sees under the dirt and grime to the beauty underneath.

Oh, and it’s for sale, so if you know anyone who would love to live in a slice of 19th-century history, SHARE this stunning home with them!

The 1800s Mansion That Inspired The Phrase ‘Keeping Up With The Joneses’

You’ve probably heard the phrase “keeping up with the Joneses” a few times in your life.

Maybe it was about neighbors who always had to outdo one another’s Christmas light displays. Maybe it was in response to the pressure felt when it seemed like everyone on the block was putting an addition on their house.

The term conjures up images of suburbia, where people display their prosperity through home improvements, cars, and even parties. It became a code term for materialism and flaunting your wealth, but also for a desperate need to fit in with the neighbors.

But the term didn’t start in the 1950s. And the Joneses? They were real people.

You probably know just how ornate and opulent homes from the 1800s could be, and our Joneses were all about it.

In 1853, Elizabeth Schermerhorn Jones built a 24-room mansion for herself in Rhinebeck, NY, in the picturesque Hudson Valley. The Gothic mansion had towers and gables and arched windows, and looked like something right out of a fairy tale. Even its name, Wyndclyffe, had a magical air about it.

Wyndclyffe enjoyed a rich history, but then the Great Depression hit, and it fell into disrepair.

Today, it stands crumbling and melancholic in the forest, and it’s become a favorite spot for explorers. It looks like its fairy-tale charm persists even in ruin…

If you happen to wander around in the forested valley of Rhinebeck, NY, you might find a silent, mysterious old mansion peeking through the leaves.

This is Wyndclyffe, a 24-room Gothic mansion built in 1853 by Elizabeth Schermerhorn Jones.

Inspired by, and perhaps jealous of, her luxurious new home, her neighbors began building their own lavish houses up and down the Hudson Valley.

The now-common term “keeping up with the Joneses” originated with this very house.

People in the Victorian period were fascinated with all things medieval, and so it was stylish to build in the Gothic style, with features arched windows and lots of ornamentation, like an old church.

Even the name “Wyndclyffe” was probably chosen for its old-timey ring.

The house passed through several different owners, including the aunt of novelist Edith Wharton.

Wharton didn’t especially like the house (or her aunt), but it did serve as the inspiration for a house in her 1929 novel, Hudson River Bracketed.

During the Great Depression, though, the owners simply couldn’t afford to keep up such a large house, as well as the 80 acres of property on which it stood.

By the 1950s, the house had been abandoned for good, and remained that way for a long time. The surrounding land was sold off, too, and today, the property is only two and a half acres.

During that time, it became a favorite spot for explorers and lovers of all things historic and spooky.

The house has fallen into disrepair, but you can still see how beautiful it must have been in its heyday.

It must have been a great place to throw parties.

And, perhaps ironically, its romantic decay and haunting beauty would make it just as beloved during Victorian times.

The house and property were recently sold at auction for $120,000, and hopefully, the new owners will work to preserve this piece of history, so we can continue to keep up with the Joneses.

Glenborrodale Castle dates from 1902 and is a five storey Scots Baronial mansion built of red Dumfriesshire sandstone

Glenborrodale Castle dates from 1902 and is a five storey Scots Baronial mansion built of red Dumfriesshire sandstone. On its south front the ground floor is high above ground level and opens onto a balustrade terrace. Curved flights of stairs descend to further garden terraces. The Castle itself dominates the steep south facing hillside which overlooks Loch Sunart. The panoramic view takes in the islands of Risga, Carna and Oronsay and the Morven Hills on the far North side of the loch.

Additional buildings include a Gate Lodge, detached Coach House, Gym, Boathouse and jetty.

The grounds of the Castle extend to about 132.99 acres (53.82ha) and include the Isle of Risga and Eilean an Feidh.

Glenborrodale Castle is situated on the southern shore of the picturesque Ardnamurchan Peninsula. The area offers some of the most outstanding coast line scenery together with an abundance of wildlife. Otters, seals, porpoises, deer, golden and white-tailed eagles and a wide range of other birdlife are frequently seen from the property. Sailing, angling, kayaking and whale watching are just some of the activities you can enjoy. Local amenities are available in the nearby villages of Salen and Acharacle including a primary school, doctor, dentist, shops and hotels.