The Chief Richardville House at 5705 Bluffton Road (behind 1st Source Bank) is open for public tours starting Saturday, June 26 from 1-4PM. All media, city officials and History Center members were invited to attend the ribbon cutting and wine reception on Friday, June 25th from 5-7PM. The house will be open for public tours every Saturday through November 6th. Admission is $7 for adults and $5 for members, children and seniors. Appointments and group tours at discounted rates are available through Randy Elliott at the History Center, 426-2882, ext. 312.
Built in 1827, the house is recognized as the oldest Native American house in the heartland. Visitors will meet a sixth generation descendant of the Miami Chief Jean Baptiste de Richardville and History Center staff members who have documented the fascinating architectural story of what appears to be the first Greek revival house in Indiana.
The exterior of the home has been restored to its former glory, reflecting the unique taste and status of the richest man in Indiana at the time of his death in 1841. The interior is largely unrestored as it is the subject of continuing research. Chief Richardville’s 18th Century iron safe (weighing nearly a quarter ton) that once held his fortune will be on display.
The $385,000 restoration of the exterior was made possible through a combination of federal and state grants from Save America’s Treasures, Build Indiana, the Wabash Valley Heritage Corridor/Indiana Department of Natural Resources and Arts United, along with local support from the Allen County-Fort Wayne Historical Society.
Additional funding is still needed for The History Center to continue working with Miami descendants to restore and preserve this landmark site.
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