A partnership which served as a catalyst for Elizabethtown’s downtown restoration has purchased a historic property on North Main Street.
In an auction Saturday, Elizabethtown Renaissance Associates agreed to pay $390,000 plus a 10% buyer’s premium for a house at the site of the first brick structure in the city.
Ben LaRue, who along with Kevin Addington and Carl Swope, created Elizabethtown Renaissance Associates, says the group has not yet decided how the property will be used.
“We are not sure yet,” LaRue said. “We haven’t spent enough time there for it to ‘speak’ to us.”
In addition to bidders, Kenny Lewis of Lewis Auction Co., who conducted the sale, said it attracted a lot of sightseers interested in touring the house.
“I said, ‘go ahead and step back in time,’ ” Lewis said.
A historic marker on the property identifies it as the home of Joshua Barney, a naval hero in the War of 1812 who it describes as a friend to George Washington, John Paul Jones and Napoleon Bonaparte.
Barney never lived on the property. He died Dec. 1, 1818, en route to relocating his family in Elizabethtown, but his widow resided there for a time in the house built in the early 1800s by Maj. Benjamin Helm, a prominent court clerk and town’s first bank president. It later was the home of Samuel Haycraft, an early local historian who was part of one of the community’s three founding families.
It has been used as a tea room and small restaurant in recent years by former owner Patsy Bennett and is situated at the corner of Main and Poplar Drive diagonally across from the Brown-Pusey House.
Lewis said he was pleased in interest generated by the auction and happy with the outcome.
“The main thing is at least it’s going to be restored,” he said.
The Renaissance partnership has restored multiple downtown buildings, attracted anchor businesses such as The Original Impellizzeri’s and J.R. Neighbors, and created loft apartments as part of its live, work, play vision for the area.
Its members also are involved in multiple other projects downtown including The Haycraft event center and restoration of Mulberry-Helm School and the Gregory Building on West Dixie Avenue.
Ben Sheroan can be reached at 270-505-1403 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
To clarify, it is at the corner of N Main St and E Poplar St. Poplar Dr is perpendicular to W Poplar St a block north of N Miles St.
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