They say you can’t go home. While it is true that nothing is the same, sometimes they are better. I stopped at the Olive Township library in New Carlisle, Indiana, on the way to a book signing. I had lived in this small town until I turned 38 when I went to the near by big city of South Bend, Indiana. The new library had been built since, and I had never seen it. The librarian was a dear friend, and we talked quite a while. She invited me to bring books and do a signing at the library’s booth during the local festival called Hometown Days.
During the festival I saw many old friends that insisted I stop at the Old Republic for the New Carlisle High School Alumni social. It was on my way home, and I hated to miss the opportunity, not only to see old friends, but to see the renovations of the building we called “Old Republic”.
Old Republic, the service family home, was built in the 1860s and was a beautiful Italianate style placed on 100 acres. It set high atop a hill and overlooked the expansive acreage below. By the time I was old enough to visit the Old Republic it had come into disrepair, being divided up to small apartments, with tales of ghosts and haunting in each. Later it was purchased and excavated for a car lot. The house continued to deteriorate through my twenties but hope sprang up when a gentleman purchased it to renovate. It was one of the locations for the Christmas movie “Prancer” that was released in 1989.
The house was too big of a project for one man and after years of attempt, he sold it and 3.5 acres to the New Carlisle Historical Society, just before the wrecking ball was to hit. That was in 1998.The renovations began in April 2001 and were finished in March of 2004. All the labor was volunteered and the results were perfection. As I walked through each room, I gasped at the change and beauty. I had never stayed in a hotel room with as much luxury as this displayed. Not even some of the most expensive suites came close, and yet, here in my old hometown, was an opportunity to stay a night at the Old Republic Inn, that I never dreamed existed.
I can easily understand why brides-to-be would want to rent the home for their wedding. The grace and charm has been restored making it a perfect place to start a new life.
If you would like to see more about the restoration of the Old Republic, there is a wonderful slide show on the Historical Society Web site. There is also information on staying at the Inn, holding a wedding there, tours, and even, for the nominal fee of $20 joining the historical society.
I highly recommend you stop at the small town of New Carlisle, Indiana, and visit this breathtaking home. The quaint town is worth the visit and the house is the dessert for the historical palate. It is a walk through the past.