Preserving history: Local Realtor seeks buyer to preserve 1866 Civil War-era home near courthouse square


A Noblesville Realtor with an appreciation for history is taking on a behemoth project at 273 S. Eighth St.

Currently, the two historic buildings on the property and a commercial kitchen are used by Heavenly Sweets, a wedding cake bakery, but the business’ owner Tanya Marshall is retiring soon. Realtor Kurt Meyer is selling the property but wants to keep the buildings’ history preserved rather than sell the parcel to a developer who would raze them. Instead, Meyer thinks the main building could work for an upscale restaurant as well as a wedding venue.

“It would be a great location for a high-end restaurant housed in the big old house in the center of the property,” Meyer said. “It is pretty amazing to think that there’s a whole acre of property available just three blocks from the courthouse square.”

Marshall bought the property in 2007 and said she saw a lot of opportunities to expand the Heavenly Sweets business there.

“Over a period of about five years, we have expanded to all three buildings (on the property,” Marshall said. “I’ve reached a point in my life I’m ready to scale back. I’m ready to still continue to have Heavenly Sweets continue somehow, but I’m also ready to let go of all the responsibility of all the property and open a new chapter in my life.”

The property is listed for $1.2 million.

The main house was built by Leonard Wild in 1866 as a demonstration house to attract other residents to the area, according to county historian David Heighway. The main house is approximately 3,000 square feet.

“(Wild) really wanted to develop that area and divvy up the lots, but the trouble is there wasn’t any real interest,” Heighway said. “The railroads were bigger and smokier, and people were moving out of that section of town over toward Conner Street. RL Wilson bought it and lived in it many years, and it wasn’t until they discovered natural gas in 1887 that that area started to grow, largely with workers’ houses.”

The house went on the market in late May, and Meyer said there has been lots of interest.

“It is so much in the news about large apartment buildings being built in and around downtown Noblesville, and I think there’s a real desire that this property lands in the hands of someone who will protect the history of the two primary buildings on the site,” Meyer said. “The house at the center, some people call it the Leonard Wild house. He built the house in 1866 right at the end of the Civil War.”

Heighway said the exterior of the house has standard designs for the late 1860s, such as ornate ironwork. He said the interior was likely done by Josiah Durfee, the man who built Potter’s Bridge and the old sheriff’s residence on the courthouse square.

“There are strong resemblances between the sheriff’s residence and the Wilson house,” Heighway said. “(The property) is an important marker in the development of the community. There are actually two buildings right along that spot that are really important, the RL Wilson house and Leonard Wild’s house south on Eighth Street, (and) a large green building with a white picket fence. Leonard built both of those buildings to establish this area as future development, which didn’t take off until 1887. But still, that was the whole push into the southwest quadrant of the city. Those two buildings right there are markers.”

Heighway said he doesn’t have historic photos of the main building but that it remains largely unchanged.

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Another piece of history

After Hamilton County and Noblesville founder William Conner left the farm that is today Conner Prairie, he retired to the property that is now 273 S. Eighth St., though that was before Leonard Wild built the house that stands today. When Conner retired to the site, county historian David Heighway said it would have been a more primitive wood structure built before the Civil War. Conner died in the 1850s.