Photo provided
Noblesville Preservation Alliance’s neighborhood flea market on Saturday will raise money to transform the facade of Preservation Hall (above, formerly Logan Street Sanctuary).
Photo provided Noblesville Preservation Alliance’s neighborhood flea market on Saturday will raise money to transform the facade of Preservation Hall (above, formerly Logan Street Sanctuary).
Noblesville Preservation Alliance has created a neighborhood Flea Market event that will replace this Saturday’s Historic Home Tour in hopes of raising enough money to transform the facade of NPA’s new home, Preservation Hall.
NPA’s Historic Home Tour committee volunteers were already hard at work. A neighborhood and a theme were chosen. The tour’s promotional poster had been designed.
But then the COVID-19 (Coronavirus Disease) pandemic hit and owners of historic homes became reluctant to open their doors to the public.
“They had secured two homes -- out of 10 needed -- when the committee began hearing ‘not this year’ from homeowners, even with assurance that NPA would mandate masks and gloves from all attendees” said NPA’s board president Sandy Stewart, whose own home on Conner Street has been a home on the tour.
For 33 years, NPA’s Historic Home Tour has been the nonprofit’s best fundraising vehicle and most popular public event. The tour is one of the most important ways that NPA fulfills its mission “to enrich the present by honoring the past through the preservation of Noblesville’s historic architecture and authentic character and charm.”
Stewart said, “In previous years, Noblesville’ historic homeowners have been wonderfully supportive of the event and proud to share their beautiful homes with the public.”
So how could NPA cancel the home tour when fundraising is most in need?
This year isn’t like any other year. “The Home Tour Committee’s stakeholder survey results made it clear that this could not be a successful year and the board felt that the (COVID-19) infection risk to homeowners, volunteers and attendees was too great,” she said.
Despite the difficult decision, NPA’s board voted on June 16 to cancel the September 2020 Historic Home Tour, which had been scheduled for this Saturday, with the hope that it would be possible to replace it with a spring 2021 tour if conditions permit, Stewart said.
So what would they do to raise funds?
“The brilliant idea to replace the Home Tour with a neighborhood Flea Market was a creative response to stark reality, a great salvage opportunity and a desperate need to raise funds for Preservation Hall,” said Stewart, whose NPA flea market committee easily transformed from home tour committee chaired by board vice president Jeanette Craw and secretary Mary Catherine Dillon.
The inaugural neighborhood Flea Market, inspired after the famous Woodruff Place flea market, is 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at Preservation Hall, the former Logan Street Sanctuary, which the NPA purchased on Oct. 17, 2019, as its new home at 1274 Logan St. in, Noblesville.
The flea market will sell historic salvage items -- that include a bathtub, sinks, windows and doors and more -- obtained prior to the demolition of three historic houses (along 10th Street between Clinton and Wayne streets where Lofts on 10th broke ground on Friday).
The flea market will also offer antiques, collectibles, household items, toys and other donated treasures. Most items will be outside on the lawn and porch of Preservation Hall but some items will be inside the building where doors and windows will be open for air flow. Musicians John Gilmore (retired U.S. Postal Service Noblesville letter carrier who was the most recent owner of Logan Street Sanctuary) and Mike Stewart (Sandy Stewart’s husband) will perform music on the porch during the sale.
The flea market’s committee has invited homeowners on Logan, Clinton and the side streets in between to join the flea market and have experienced enthusiastic response from participants and generous donations to NPA to support the event. The market is rain or shine, with participants using covered porches and outdoor canopies.
How can the community help? Become a vendor at your home (on Logan, Clinton or side streets in between) for a $20 donation, allow others to sell at your home, shop the sales and help your community, donate quality items to NPA to sell at Preservation Hall and make monetary donations to NPA.
The all-volunteer NPA, which has been serving the community for 33 years, accomplished great things while meeting in member homes, City Hall and other borrowed spaces and storing its records, equipment, signage and more in homes, garages and basements before deciding in 2017 to begin searching for a permanent home.
NPA found the former Logan Street Sanctuary, built circa 1915 as a World War I Army barracks, then a portable school building and later a church in Cleveland, Ohio, moved to Noblesville in 1936 and erected on the city lot at 1274 Logan St. and purchased by the Christ Lutheran Church, then Trinity House of Worship. Retired U.S. Postal Service Noblesville letter carrier and musician John Gilmore purchased the church in 2013 and turned it into Logan Street Sanctuary, which earned a national reputation as a singer/songwriter venue and a “listening place,” revered by musicians accustomed to singing in noisy bars and clubs.
“The owner sold the building to NPA because he knew that we would treasure it and continue the arts, music and educational programming,” Stewart said. “This charming little building was born to serve and deserves to be preserved so it can continue its mission.”
NPA’s down payment from fundraising proceeds was supported by a $75,000 Endangered Structures interest-free loan from Indiana Landmarks, with a mandate that the structure be fully restored and preserved, Stewart said. No monthly payments are required, but the loan must be paid in full by April 2021 or refinanced at 4 percent. Monthly operating costs are minimal, but anticipated rental income died when the COVID-19 virus was born. Membership dues and donations are used for general operating expenses, which includes some community programming, Stewart said. NPA has also committed to renovating the building at a cost of $75,000 to $80,000. “Our greatest challenge at this point is raising enough to match our City of Noblesville facade grant of $25,000 so that work can begin,” she said. “We had raised some of that match through sponsorships and donations when the pandemic struck.”
Naming sponsorship opportunities are available inside Preservation Hall, with names of individual donors, businesses or names of those the donor wishes to honor or memorialize acknowledged on a plaque and permanently on display there. Sponsorships include $1,000 for a table, $2,500 for a window, $5,000 for a pew, $10,000 for a pulpit or piano.
After the flea market, NPA will concentrate on removing vinyl siding and other renovation tasks that can be accomplished with volunteers, readying for the time when NPA can afford to begin professional restoration work.
NPA intends to increase programming such as the recently introduced NobleStories presentations, singer/songwriter concerts previously provided by Logan Street Sanctuary and add educational workshops, social gatherings and family friendly events, such as movie nights, Stewart said. However, these events are on hold until it is safe to have indoor gatherings.
Stewart, 75, was born in St. Charles, Va., and moved with her family to Noblesville in 1952 when her father was hired by Firestone Industrial Products. She’s a class of 1964 Noblesville High School graduate and majored in fine arts at Indiana University, where she earned a bachelor of arts degree. She relocated to New York City and Boston for 15 years, returned to Noblesville in 1982 and retired as executive director of PrimeLife Enrichment nonprofit senior services organization serving Hamilton County.
She and husband, Mike, moved from their Ninth Street Victorian home to a more spacious mid-century home in Carmel shortly after their son was born about 30 years ago. Once he left for college, they searched for another Victorian home, finding the perfect place in Old Town Noblesville. She became a member of NPA in 2013 when she applied for and received a facade grant to help with the exterior renovation of their 1880s home. Then they responded to a call for Home Tour volunteers. “To our surprise, volunteering made the event much more enjoyable than any we had previously attended,” she said. “We were hooked. We loved the fellowship with others who cherished historic architecture and soon began volunteering for other initiatives.” She then became a board member, eventually serving as vice president and now NPA president.
Stewart said, “As one with a long overview of Noblesville, both as residential and frequent visitor when living elsewhere, I have had the opportunity to experience the extraordinary evolution of my hometown from a voring, homely little town I couldn’t wait to escape to an exciting, thriving city that has managed to grow and change without losing its unique character and historic beauty.”
She said, “While many organizations and governing bodies have certainly contributed to the preservation of its beauty and appeal, I believe that the single-most influential entity has been the NPA. Its years of advocacy, action and exemplary restoration efforts have inspired many homeowners to preserve and enhance the beauty of Noblesville’s historic homes and architecture.”
Stewart said, “NPA has helped protect our treasures for present and future generations to enjoy.”

-Contact Betsy Reason at betsy@thetimes24-7.com.