Preservation advocates in Greenville are hoping to save a
a significant 19th-century landmark in the community that recently went on the market.
The Greenville Historic Preservation Commission is publicizing information related to Civil War Veteran Jesse N. Smith,
and his former home located at 9569 US 150.
Word of the historic home for sale prompted the town’s historic preservation commission (HPC) to research the former owner Jesse Smith.
“We love history in all its forms”, states HPC Chairman Matt Uhl. “Buildings like this are a foundation to build a greater understanding of our community, our citizens, and how we have a role in building our country. We would love to gain control of the property and see the house rehabilitated for community use.”
The house is presently on the market for $95,000 and is listed through the Julie Gamble Group. The house is presently not protected from demolition.
The 1860s-era home has ties to Indiana’s Civil War past and one of the town’s earliest families.
A son of Greenville doctor Reuben Smith, Private Jesse Smith joined the Indiana 17th infantry regiment in 1861 at the age of 19.
His older brother Marion served in the 23 rd Infantry, rising to the level of Captain. Jesse eventually rose to the rank of Corporal before exiting service in 1864 during the Atlanta campaign.
In between, the Indiana 17th saw action at Chickamauga, Chattanooga, Munfordville, and other battles in the
Southeast and Appalachia. Smith returned home, marrying his wife Anna shortly after the war’s conclusion.
Along the way, they purchased the center-passage; plan home in 1871, and used its location along US 150 to sell groceries, general merchandise, and even jewelry.
Their son Otto took over the business until his passing in 1928.
“We understand a town of our size may not have the resources larger cities have for preservation”, Uhl comments. “But that doesn’t erase Corporal Smith’s service and the impact he contributed to our local history, and what his home means as a potential touchstone for future generations.”
The HPC has submitted a National Register eligibility assessment to the Indiana DNR Division of Historic Preservation and
National Register listing could aid with grant funds should the preservation commission or another local non-profit group be able to purchase the property. Indiana Landmarks has been providing guidance to the group.
“Preservation is about ensuring that our urban landscape reflects more than just profit margins or the whims of developers and real estate speculators,” said Andy Lemon, Greenville Town Councilman.
“It doesn’t make sense to recycle cans and paper but to not recycle buildings.”