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An Indiana Landmark: Evansville Greyhound Terminal

Evansville Greyhound Terminal

ABOVE: The historic Evansville Greyhound Terminal. Photo provided by Indiana Landmarks.

Guest Blogger:
Tina Connor, Indiana Landmarks
http://www.indianalandmarks.org/

Indiana Landmarks recently took steps toward getting Evansville’s Greyhound Terminal in running order. Pending board approval, the private, nonprofit organization plans to restore the rare building at the corner of NW Third and Sycamore Streets.

The City of Evansville primed the redevelopment pump by contributing the building and $250,000. Vacant for four years, the 1939 building is one of two remaining terminals from Greyhound’s “Blue Period” and the only surviving station clad in enameled-steel panels.

“Everyone loves this building,” says Indiana Landmarks’ President Marsh Davis. “Some have personal associations of arrival or departure, and others just love the streamlined Art Moderne design, the colorful exterior, and, of course, the speeding greyhound.

“This will be a challenge, however. The enameled-steel panels are an uncommon building material, and problems can be lurking unseen behind the glazed surface. We’ll tackle the roof first, and anywhere that water is penetrating, since rust is the great enemy of a building like this,” Davis declared. The preservation group must also remediate environmental problems.

The City recognized the terminal’s significance in acquiring the building in 2007 when Greyhound built a new facility. Indiana Landmarks congratulated the City for recognizing the value of the downtown gem.

“Modernist landmarks often face threats because people think they’re not old enough to warrant protection,” Davis noted. “We’re grateful to Mayor Weinzapfel and the Evansville Redevelopment Commission for their investment in our restoration.

We think it will take $1 million to put the landmark right and light the neon running dog, and we’re committed to raising the rest of the money,” Davis says.

Indiana Landmarks intends to open its southwest regional office in the terminal. The organization operates nine offices in the state, most in landmarks it owns.  Earlier this year, Indiana Landmarks unveiled a new state headquarters and cultural center in a formerly vacant nineteenth-century church in downtown Indianapolis. The Cook family of Bloomington contributed over $10 million to the renovation. Next month, Indiana Landmarks will hold an open house at its newest acquisition, a 1941 bank building in downtown Terre Haute that houses its western office.

Since 1997, Indiana Landmarks has employed a preservation professional to serve the southwest part of the state, operating from a home office. Stewart Sebree has been in the position since January 2001. Indiana Landmarks hopes to add staff when it opens the permanent southwest regional office in the terminal. “The office will give Indiana Landmarks a greater presence in Evansville, and in turn give preservation a higher profile in the region,” vowed Sebree.

“Indiana Landmarks will work with the City and the community, and do our homework to make sure we find a sustainable use that gives the public access to this wonderful place,” Davis pledged. “We want to fill the terminal with a use that contributes to the economy and livability of downtown.” He has heard from some who hope for a winter Farmer’s Market in the building. Others vote for a restaurant.

The statewide preservation group has three Evansville residents on its 30-member board. Businesswoman Christine Keck, Evansville Living publisher Kristin Tucker, and developer Gene Warren will play a primary role in helping the organization raise the money to complete the project.

Indiana Landmarks revitalizes communities, reconnects us to our heritage, and saves meaningful places. With ten offices located throughout the state, the non-profit organization helps people rescue endangered landmarks and restore historic neighborhoods and downtowns. People who join Indiana Landmarks receive its bimonthly magazine, Indiana Preservationist. For more information, call 317-639-4534, 800-450-4534, or visit www.indianalandmarks.org.

Editor’s Acknowledgment: Jen Thomas, JTPR, Inc.

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