Casebolts honored for old-bank renovation

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TELL CITY – A Tell City couple has been honored by a state preservation group for their efforts to save the former Tell City National Bank building, now a Main Street eatery.
Indiana Landmarks awarded Josh and Sonia Casebolt one of four Rosemary Prentice Awards recognizing high-quality restoration in southern Indiana.
The Casebolts were chosen for their rehabilitation of the historic bank, purchased from Indiana Landmarks on Main Street.
 Indiana Landmarks rescued the structure, built in the mid-1880s, when it was threatened with demolition. The Casebolts renovated the building, opening the Vault Bar & Grille on the first floor and rehabbing the upper floors as an apartment.
The business was profiled in a February News feature. In it, the couple shared their love of the landmark building.
“We just love the building. Once we got in here and started remodeling it, I just fell in love with it. Our initial plan was to lease it as a restaurant to someone. I just couldn’t do it,” Sonia Casebolt said.
The awards were presented during Indiana Landmarks’ Movable Feast in Madison July 26, an event staged with support from R+B Architecture, Alcorn Goering & Sage, The Clearinghouse of Jefferson County, The Cornerstone Society, Historic Madison, Betsey Lyman and Gary Valen of Fairmount House, and the Riverboat Inn.
The Prentice Awards are named in honor of the late advocate who helped create a strong preservation organization in Jeffersonville and led Indiana Landmarks to open a regional office in southern Indiana.
Other Rosemary Prentice awards went to St. John’s United Church of Christ in Madison for the restoration of the church in the wake of Hurricane Ike.
The 2008 storm peeled back the roof of the 1844 landmark at 501 East Main Street. Water damaged the plaster and revealed elaborate decorative painting on the walls of the sanctuary, hidden since the 1930s. The congregation raised $15,000 to re-create the Victorian interior.
Artisans David and Diedre Cart completed the work. The Rev. Jeannie Sarver and Council President Michael Gourley, with the Carts, accepted the award.
The City of New Albany and New Directions Housing Corp. won a Prentice Award for the Midtown Renaissance project. The project is following preservation standards in rehabbing dilapidated and abandoned houses – most dating from the mid-19th to the early-20th century – in the Midtown neighborhood.
Sixteen homes have been rehabilitated so far, and 15 new houses of compatible design – many utilizing the camelback shotgun form common in New Albany – have been built on vacant lots.
The project also has sparked private rehabilitations. The Prentice Award was accepted by Scott Wood, Chief Planner for the City of New Albany, and Joe Gliessner, Lisa Thompson and Gus Thomas of New Directions Housing Corp. Indiana State Rep. Ed Clere was also recognized for his contribution to the project.
Bruce Rippe won a Prentice Award for RomWeber Flats, his adaptive use of the RomWeber Furniture Factory in Batesville.
The oldest portion of the vast complex dates from 1876, with expansions in 1920 and 1950. A 1920 steel-truss pedestrian bridge still connects the third and fourth floors of the complex across Depot Street.
After the RomWeber factory closed in 2008, the company’s president, Bruce Rippe, turned the historic industrial space to productive new use as RomWeber Flats, a 54-unit senior living development. An additional 30 units will open in 2014.
The multi-million dollar redevelopment also includes a weight-loss clinic, a community learning center and a restaurant. Preserved elements reflect the building’s industrial heritage.