S.T.O.P. (SAVE THE OLD PROPERTIES)
OWNER DANN ALLEN... 2 minutes late of being the oldest twin, history lover, photographer,
preservationist, nature lover, wheat thin eater, cat lover, hard working man!
S.T.O.P. (SAVE THE OLD PROPERTIES) is a non-profit organization that recently became a reality for twins, Dann and Richard Allen in 1996, after their budding interest in preserving history one building at time! The two treasure the opportunity in preserving historic buildings and structures, as they hold much history and that can never be mimicked now, nor in the future, as our world has evolved with technology. Dann Allen's idea of S.T.O.P.'s came about with the idea of a STOP SIGN! That's right, a stop sign! When we see a STOP SIGN, we all universally know to STOP. It can make an impact on ones life, whether you STOP OR NOT, and it is with great passion and determination that Dann Allen hopes that he can make an impact now before our history has been crumbled away. S.T.O.P.'S TEAM strives to capture the history as if it were encapsulated, and intend to restore the building and its structure to its form glory, rather than being buried in ruble. In doing so, we are able to keep the stories and history alive throughout the community, as well as the United States for future generations. Rest assured, our intentions are merely to bring back the life this building once had, rather than allowing it to become a desolate building lingering in the midst of the horizon.
S.T.O.P. (Save the Old Properties) became an official organization in June of 2016, although our adventures began much earlier. Ironically, our first property purchased was The Old Blackford County Jail which was built in 1879. Richard and Dann Allen purchased the Jail in 1996, at which point the Jail became home for the twins. In addition to the Jail becoming the Allen Brother’s home, Richard and Dann’s Heating & Cooling business office worked out of the old sheriff’s office. However, in making the old jail their home, there were no structural changes made to this historic structure, as there were already living quarters within the building for the sheriff and their families. While living at the Jail, there have been many things done to turn it back to what it once was! Unfortunately, throughout time, interior design has its ups and downs. As you may already be aware, the main thing that we have seen done to many buildings is the beautiful wood being painted over. Stripping the multiple layers from decades of paint, without harming the wood is no doubt time consuming. Nevertheless, hard work comes with great rewards! It was at this point the twins realized they had discovered a passion within; and saving a piece of history some may have forgotten would turn into an incredible venture!
Our most successful and inspiring adventure to date is The Randolph County Asylum/Infirmary just outside Winchester, Indiana. The current Asylum/Infirmary was built in 1899, and yet was built on the foundation of the second Infirmary. The current building is the third building built as the Asylum/Infirmary at this location. Unfortunately, the original Poor Farm burnt to the ground. The second building was built and soon raised due to poor craftsmanship and living conditions. As with many poor farms, almshouses, sanitoriums, asylums, county farms, and nursing homes the purpose was to provide housing, medical care, and essential needs for the countys sick, retired, indigent, poor, and injured. The major function of the Infirmary of course was to contain epidemic illnesses, as well as, house individuals thought to be mentally unstable and indigent.
The Randolph County Asylum/Infirmary’s original window panes and witches hat towers have stood the test of time! It is situated on 4.6 acres of picturesque Randolph County, Indiana farmland. The Infirmary was operated by the county, as an old peoples home until 2006, when it was closed and remained vacant. The Asylum/Infirmary was purchased in 2015 and our restoration efforts began immediately. The beauty and history of our beloved building is currently enjoyed by a menagerie of visitors weekly. The County Asylum attracts photographers, filmmakers, producers, wedding planners, school field trips, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, colleges, and charitable event organizers. The ability to attract people to attend charitable events at our site has been some of our most rewarding experiences for ourselves, as well as the community. We have drawn many local citizens and their families, creating a spark passion for history and their town. The youth have become interested in the heritage, and willing research the history out of curiosity! This excitement, desire to learn, and their growing level of interest is fascinating to watch!
Our most recent addition to S.T.O.P. is Liberty High School located in Ohio City, Ohio. The 50,000 square foot school was built in 1917. The school is filled with gorgeous woodwork, brass fixtures, a magnificent showcase staircase, and an incredible entryway. The clean-up and repair process has just begun. However, our team, along with the community of Ohio City is beyond excited with what the future holds of this treasured building that holds so many childhood memories.
All properties have been purchased “As Is” with varying degrees of degradation. Throughout the years we have repaired roofs, eaves, replaced windows, scraped and peeled paint, fixed plumbing and electrical issues, structural issues and installed ventilation apparatuses to dry problem areas; to name just a few. Most repairs have been completed by our staff and community volunteers, however, if the need arises, we have hired additional professional help. In these instances, we look within the community for local professional proprietors.
WILLINGNESS TO PRESERVE HISTORIC VALUE
Our PASSION is to preserve the history and architecture of our histories iconic, irreplaceable buildings, structures, and properties before they are destroyed by developers. The quality of craftsmanship and materials used in these historic properties far superior to our modern day home in a box. We have been able to bring light to future generations solely by showing them the history in the physical form. The only way we are going to entice future generations to take pride in our Nation, is to show them we value our past!
S.T.O.P. is made up of small town business owners, both past and present. We strongly believe in shopping local when possible. We have found that local businesses and individuals tend to strive for perfection, especially when working on their state and community’s history; as well their heritage. It has become apparent with our properties that sparking community interest through our events has drawn attention to our efforts of preserving the history that had once been a possible speck of dust forgotten about. Our intent is to memorialize the life that once roamed the halls of Old Jails, Lodges, Infirmaries, Schools, Hotels, and many more buildings! In saying this, we encourage the community to share their love and passion they hold for such an iconic building and be a part of the preservation process. When we begin the process of repairs, we invite all to our open volunteer days to join us in our venture of preservation!
Additionally, when we purchase a historic property, it is our intention to own the historic treasure indefinitely. However, should the need arise to sell, we encourage the sellers to notate in the contract that they will be the first to have the opportunity at purchasing the property back at the fair market value considering the improvements and structural repairs are needed to maintain the buildings integrity. Any concerns they may have, we encourage them to put contingencies into place such as:
• The property/structure may not be stripped of original fixtures, woodwork, and anything historically significant to the community or building
• The property must stay in ownership for xx amount of years, otherwise, first rights are given to the (seller) opportunity to purchase the property/structure back at fair market value if improvements had been made after purchase
• The property upkeep both inside & out must be maintained by the property owner
• Will maintain structure
• The FACILITY, STRUCTURE, AND/OR PROPERTY may not be used as a place of storage
• Contingencies go with any future sale of the structures
• DANN ALLEN - PRESIDENT
• RICHARD ALLEN - VICE PRESIDENT