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Tippecanoe County working to preserve historic home

Tippecanoe County's plan to extend Yeager Road is changing after county leaders were notified of historic property.

Posted: Aug 8, 2019 6:34 PM
Updated: Aug 8, 2019 6:39 PM

TIPPECANOE COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI)—Tippecanoe County is planning to extend Yeager Road in West Lafayette.

Although plans were changed after the road design company made it clear that the proposed construction site had historic land nearby.

This was determined after a consultant company conducted a noise study. A study the highway department conducts before starting a construction project.

Assistant Highway Director Mike Spencer said Tippecanoe County met with the Indiana Department of Transportation and a consultant company that does the noise study.

Once the land was identified as historic, an Environmental Document had to be submitted by the consultant company.

"People look for historic structures or anything historic along the route and this James Pierce house had come up as being historic,” said Assistant Highway Director Mike Spencer.

The James Pierce Jr. House located in Wabash Township was built in 1833. 

"It is a historic structure built by a pioneer family,” said Charles Gullion with the Tippecanoe County Historical Association.
Gullion said preserving the land is important.

According to the National Register of Historic Places and the owners of the home currently, It's a two-story, Greek Revival style brick dwelling, with a one-story rear ell and one-story wing. It is four bays wide and has a slate gable roof. It also housed the Cass Post Office between 1846 and 1855.

"We don't have too many structures like that left in the area and especially not in such good condition,” said Gullion.

On Monday, August 5th at the Tippecanoe County Board of Commissioners meeting, the county agreed that once construction begins for the Yeager Road extension, disruption of the nearly 200-year-old James Pierce Jr. House and land will not happen.

Spencer said he's never dealt with a road project that's gone past a historic property.

"Well probably have to purchase some access right away across to the east of the home,” said Spencer. “Not on its site but across from the existing county road from them."

Gullion said he hopes that by the county doing this, other historic properties will be protected from construction projects. The James Pierce Jr. House was registered as a National Historic Place in 1982. 

"Well we hope that it will send out a message that gives serious consideration to the construction that's going to be going on for roads that need to be straightened or widened,” said Gullion.

Spencer said the county is still in the early stages of planning.

The plan is to realign Yeager Road into an S curve. This will be from Kalberer Road to County Road 500 North. 

You can learn more about the James Pierce Jr. House at the Tippecanoe County Historical Association.

The current owners of this property were unavailable to speak on camera. 

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