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TELL CITY - The Tell City Board of Public Works is considering demolition of the former Saxton Building in Greenwood Cemetery. The cemetery committee made a recommendation to the board for demolition due to the condition of the 1873 structure and problems it creates for traffic.
The building was constructed in 1873, 15 years after the city was founded. Tell City Historical Society President Chris Cail called it the oldest public-works building in the city and said it played an important role in the early years of Tell City.
“If you read the history of Greenwood Cemetery, you get a sense of how important this building really was to the cemetery,” he said. “The building was originally used to store bodies when workers were unable to dig a grave because of inclement weather.”
“When I received word that the structure might be demolished,” he continued, “I quickly informed the members of the Tell City Historical Society that we might be losing this historic structure.” Members of the society quickly responded, he said, working diligently to make the structure safe and preserve that part of Greenwood Cemetery’s history. He, society Vice President Phil Wittmer, Curator Mark Ress and Gene Borders formed a committee to look at ways to shore up the structure.
“So far we have received support from local businesses and individuals who share the same belief that the historic structure has to be saved and preserved as part of our city’s history,” Cail said. “We plan to have an engineer look at the structure to (confirm) our findings that the building is still salvageable. However, we still are in need of more support to help finalize our plan. Our plan is to replace the roof and gutters. We also will be repairing the brickwork and doors. We will then repaint the building to a period color that will complement the cemetery.
“At some point we as citizens have to step up and say enough is enough when it comes to demolishing historic structures,” Cail emphasized. “This is not a large building and it should be preserved to keep the integrity of our city cemetery.”