Programs and Projects

August 2004 Photo of PPH Board Members at Whitley County Jail

PPH Board Members reading historical marker at old Whitley County Jail.

The most significant endangered historic landmark in Whitley County is the old jail on 116 East Market Street in Columbia City. It is owned by an adjoining auto dealership which uses the jail parking lot. The building is vacant except for use as a haunted house at Halloween. The Second Empire or Mansard style of architecture became the preferred style of public buildings during the presidency of Ulysses Grant in 1870-1877. It is the goal of PPH to help ensure the preservation and continued use of the jail as offices, restaurant, lodging, community center or museum, hoping that it becomes the crown jewel in downtown redevelopment plans. For more information contact People Preserving History.

PPH board members are shown in photo above on a 2004 tour of endangered landmarks in Whitley County inspecting the old jail in Columbia City and reading the historical marker, which says, "This jail and sheriff's residence was erected in 1875 and occupied in 1876 at a cost of 434,486. At that time, it was considered one of the best jails in Indiana and a credit to Whitley County. A portion of the fence that once enclosed the jail yard stands with this marker. Erected July 1975 by the Whitley County Historical Society."

Hooper House Project

August 2007 Photo of Hooper House
Press Release
November 17, 2007

Steven and Kathleen Linvill have donated the historic Adams Hooper house at 209 Chauncey Street in Columbia City to People Preserving History.  PPH had been concerned about the fate of the house for several months as a looming deadline for its demolition approached.  The Hooper house was constructed in 1856 and is located within Columbia City’s National Register of Historic Places District.   It is reputed to be the oldest brick home in Columbia City.  It’s fate was unclear with the Board of Works moving to open bids for its demolition because the owners did not comply with city demands for repairs.  On November 15 the deed was signed and at the November 16 Board of Works meetings a May 1, 2008 date was set to have all repairs completed.  PPH has obtained a loan for up to $75,000 from Historic Landmarks Foundation of Indiana’s Statewide Revolving Loan Fund to pay for exterior and basement-foundation work.  Historic Landmarks will also be assisting PPH with project management.  “This is a great historic property.  It was clearly a show place when it was constructed in 1856.  We look forward to assisting PPH in this outstanding property, said Todd Zeiger, Director, Northern Regional Office for Historic Landmarks.  Initially rehabilitation will focus on the repair list by the city that includes windows, gutters, masonry repair, some interior structural work and painting.

Once repairs and other work are completed, PPH intends to sell the property for approximately the cost of the work to someone to complete the interior of the project, with protective preservation covenants.  The covenants will provide protection for the exterior of the home to keep it from being torn down or altered in an unsympathetic way.

“We think it would make an excellent office or wonderful home for someone.  We are not just saving the Hooper house from demolition, but are preserving the spirit of one of the important and admirable leaders in Columbia City history.  This is the kind of unique historic building that makes Columbia City interesting and special.  What better way to honor the people whose blood, sweat and tears built this town for us to use and enjoy.  It’s association with Thomas R.  Marshall and the fact the house remains over 150 years after its construction adds to the importance,” notes Jon Pontzius who is spearheading the project for PPH.  Hooper’s daughter Kate was engaged to marry Thomas R.  Marshall, but died in September 1878, the day before the wedding.  Marshall did not marry until 1895.

Adams Hooper was a prominent attorney in Columbia City for twenty-five years until his death in 1874.  He was a State Senator and Representative and owner of a local newspaper.  The Whitley County History by Kaler and Maring says this about Hooper: “Perhaps no death ever occurring in the county was so widely and sincerely mourned as that of Adams Y.  Hooper.  He was so admired, so respected and so loved that his early death was regarded as a public calamity.  This was due to the noble characteristics of the man, to his purity of heart, to his unfaltering faith and honor, and to those warm elements of mind and heart that kindled the respect and love of those who met him in business and social life.”

An open house with entertainment and refreshments is planned for December 15th 2007 from 5-7 pm to allow interested individuals the chance to see the inside.

“We recognize that there is a great deal of interest in this property and that people would like to see the inside so we are planning an exciting event to allow them to do just that.” Said Joann Williams, vice-president of PPH.

August 2008 Photo of the Hooper House
Hooper House Now for Sale
November 2008

PPH has completely restored the exterior and basement of the Hooper House and reinforced the foundation.  The house is now for sale for $75,000.  The new owner will need to add plumbing and heating.  For information on the Hooper House or to set up an appointment to tour the Hooper House contact Jon Pontzius, (260) 248-2185, by email sent to

Click for Sale Details
and more photos.

National Preservation Week

People Preserving History will present their Landmark Laurels Awards during this week each year.

Please see the Landmark Laurels Awards Guidelines to make nominations for the awards.

People Preserving History
P.O. Box 352
Columbia City, Indiana 46725

November 6, 2008 - DrG