- Associated Press - Tuesday, May 27, 2014

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) - Tafsir Awal wasn’t looking for a piece of Bloomington history when he spotted a listing for a fire-damaged home on an online auction website. He was just looking for an investment opportunity in the town where he had attended college and had visited regularly since his graduation in 2004.

It was only after his company, Monsoon Properties LLC, had won the auction that the Indiana University alumnus learned of the role the house might have played in the creation of an important entry in the Great American Songbook, “Stardust.”

There is general consensus that the song’s composer, Hoagy Carmichael, probably lived in the home while he was a student at Indiana University and/or shortly thereafter, in the 1920s. That he might have worked on his most famous song there is more a matter of speculation, supported primarily by an inscription on the back of a photo of the house found in the IU Archives which reads: “Washington Street, Bloomington house where ‘Stardust’ was born first.”

For neighbors of the property at 536 S. Washington St., the main question last October when Awal and his business partner, Ahad Bhai, acquired the home was not its historic significance, but its present condition, The Herald-Times reported (http://bit.ly/1inOsxj ). A fire several months earlier had destroyed much of the roof and the second floor, parts of which fell all the way through to the basement. A blue tarp draped over what was left of the roof had shredded in spring rains, and what hadn’t been burned was soaked in water. Graffiti decorated the front porch, and plywood was tacked over the first-floor windows to prevent entry.

One day last week, Awal stopped by the home to check on the progress of restoration under the direction of Dave Noggle Builders. Work was largely finished on the first and second floors.

Fresh paint gave the home that “new” smell. There was no hint of graffiti anywhere on the exterior, which had been returned as much as possible to its original condition. The interior also was unchanged from its layout at the time of the fire. However, there were new appliances in the kitchen and new fixtures in both the upstairs and downstairs bathrooms. Five bedrooms awaited new occupants. Awal said the property should be ready to put on the rental market by mid-June.

Contractor Dave Noggle smiled when asked about the challenging restoration.

“We actually built backward,” he said. “We started with the roof and built our way down.”

___

Information from: The Herald Times, http://www.heraldtimesonline.com

Copyright © 2016 The Washington Times, LLC.

blog comments powered by Disqus

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide