- Associated Press - Saturday, November 22, 2014

VINCENNES, Ind. (AP) - A more than 150-year-old house in southwestern Indiana once owned by the founder of the now-defunct Gimbels department store chain is being prepped for a restoration by its new owner.

The two-story, 19th century home was purchased last month by Robert J. Ford, a professor of music at Vincennes University who’s already at work on its interior. Ford said he plans to stabilize the house, which has been vacant for years, before major renovations begin on the old dwelling in Vincennes, about 40 miles north of Evansville.

“We’ll need to restore the electric and get some heat in there before much work can be done, but we’ll tackle it little by little,” he told the Vincennes Sun-Commercial (https://bit.ly/1uPrlpa).

Local historian Richard Day said he has long been concerned about the house, which has an unstable roof that’s been in need of repairs. Day said he’s thrilled by the news that the home has a new owner with restoration plans.

“That should happen more often in Vincennes. I wish there were more people like Mr. Ford,” he said.

Day said the house is more than 150 years old and appears in a lithograph dating to 1857, when it was at a different location. The house was moved to its current lot around 1880.

Before that move, the house was purchased by Adam Gimbel. The Bavarian immigrant founded what eventually became Gimbel Brothers, operators of the Gimbels department store chain.

After emigrating to the U.S., Gimbel wandered the Mississippi River selling bolts of cloth and hairpins to frontier women. He later opened a pot and lace shop near the Wabash River in Vincennes.

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Information from: Vincennes Sun-Commercial, https://www.vincennes.com


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