- Associated Press - Tuesday, May 13, 2014

JEFFERSONVILLE, Ind. (AP) - An historic home from the heyday of Jeffersonville’s steamboat industry is being revived.

Indiana Landmarks has purchased and is restoring the 140-year-old house on Jackson Avenue that was once owned by Captain James Duffy, a steamboat pilot who was kin to the Howard family famous for building the shipyard.

“It’s probably one of the finest examples of Italianate style in Jeffersonville,” Greg Sekula, southern regional director of Indiana Landmarks, said of the 3,400-square-foot, two-story home that has wide overhangs with ornamental bracketing and bay windows.

Duffy House will undergo $27,000 worth of stabilization repairs, including a new roof, gutter repairs and porch work. Crews are also working on general cleanup of the property.

Indiana Landmarks bought the house from the Federal National Mortgage Association, or Fannie Mae, which took possession of the house in January through foreclosure. Sekula told the News and Tribune (https://bit.ly/1lsDMB1 ) he has been keeping his eye on the house since last summer.

The historical preservation organization is readying Duffy House for possible resale. The project’s funding comes from the state Endangered Places Acquisition Fund and private donations from businesses including Jeff-Clark Preservation Inc.

“We’re not sure at this point what our long-term plans are,” he said.

The property also has a more modern pool house and garage.

Sekula said contractors are lined up to start work this week, and Indiana Landmarks is in the process of reviewing bids for a new roof.

He said he expects stabilization work of the project to be completed in 60 days. From there, the organization plans on having a first-look open house and then considering its next options.

“Hopefully by that point we’ll have a clear point on additional work,” he said.

Local tradition holds that Duffy House - with an exterior resembling a steamboat - was built by workers from the Howard Shipyards. One of the Howard children wrote of visiting her aunt and uncle at Duffy House, Sekula said.

“For that reason, we feel it’s a very important link to the history of Jeffersonville’s steamboat heritage along the Ohio River,” he said.

Clark County Historian Jeanne Burke said that the home was given to James Duffy as a wedding gift.

“It’s a very fine house,” Burke said.

The home has a curved staircase, original woodwork and some of the original wallpaper, she said.

Burke predicts that Indiana Landmarks may keep the home and use it as an office, or sell it to a private owner.

“It’s just a part of that history that needs to be preserved,” she said. “It’s unique, and its uniqueness is what makes it so important.”

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Information from: News and Tribune, Jeffersonville, Ind., https://www.newsandtribune.com

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