Historic Homes of
Welcome to DPI's new adventure. We're on a mission to showcase our town's beauty and passion for historic preservation with virtual tours and informational pieces of some of Princeton's oldest and prettiest properties.
If you are interested in participating by sharing your property, feel free to contact DPI Director, Hannah Whitehead
404 W. Walnut
Old Brownlee Home
"This site was bought from Robert M. Evans by Judge Samuel Hall on April 15th, 1828. The house was built in 1832. It was sold by Judge Hall to John Brownlee in 1834. Judge Hall sold the house because it was in the country. He moved to the present site of the Emerson Hotel.
The materials for the house were brought from Baltimore. The front gate of the place was said to be at the corner of Emerson and West streets, the corner now occupied by the Christian Science Church. The house was the farm home of a hundred acres and the architecture was planned after the governor's house in Virginia.
The Brownlee family occupied this house until 1936. This home was a gathering place during the Civil War, when there was an important victory to be celebrated. Captain Charles Brownlee, owner of the house at that time was in the Civil War. Stormont's History of Gibson County says, "He is one of those strong and influential citizens whose lives become an essential part of the history of a community, and for years his name has been synonymous with all that constitutes an honorable and upright manhood"."
403 W. Walnut
403 W. Walnut Street
Home built in 1898 - Brick road built in 1906
"Today, no horses are seen clop-clopping down the brick street - horses have become luxuries - as have the beautiful feature of the fine old home at 403 W. Walnut.
The bevel glass windows, hand carved, solid oak star case, hand carved, elaborate fireplace mantels have become cost prohibitive today.
The lovely old home on the brick street cantake you to the time when the Maxwell replaced the horses, followed by the larger Stanley Steamer and ladies put on their starched shirtwaists and served their home made cake on the front porch on summer evenings.
Beautifully preserved, the home consists of foyer, parlor, formal dining, or family room, 4 bedrooms, 2 fireplaces, 1 1/2 baths. The light and spacious kitchen is "out of this world pretty". Predominately blue with plaid wall paper, the finest in oak cabinets set down breakfast bar and appliances.
A more innocent time that offered joy without fear - contentment without cynicism."
- Realtor add clipping in August 1988 by Georgia Board Real Estate
The Welborn-Ross House
542 South Hart Street
The Welborn-Ross House
This Italianate late Victorian has many upgrades, but still holds true to it's time period and rests on the National Registry of Historic Places. This home was built between 1875 - 1881 on an oversized lot, which was initially three city lots. This inside space differs from the original floor plan, due to the home being divided into apartments at some point after 1955. Mr. and Mrs. Ross has done a fantastic job of showcasing this home's history, while making it functional with modern amenities.
Statement of Significance for the National Historic Registry:
"The Welborn-Ross house is significant under criterion B, for it's association with Dr. William R. Welborn, an important local physician, banker and entrepreneur, who contributed to the growth and development of Princeton, Indiana's early commercial life and who participated in the establishment of important educational and cultural facilities in town. Rather than achieving significance in any one field of commerce, Welborn is important for his many contributions to the local economy at a critical period. The period of significance spans the date of construction of the house and the year of Dr. Welborn's death. In addition, the building meets criterion C and is an outstanding example of the Italianate architectural style, as demonstrated in rural midwestern towns during the latter half of the nineteenth century. It is one of two structures in the county, built on the same plan which are particularly noteworthy for the exuberance and craftsmanship of their exterior woodwork. The Welborn-Ross home is the only remaining brick example of this particular design in Princeton."
"The Welborn-Ross house is significant for it's association with commercial development in Princeton during these years, and especially for it's association with one of the town's most respected community leaders. Upon his death in 1898, Dr. William Pinckney Welborn was touted as "not only a progressive man of affairs ... but a man of modest and unassuming demeanor, well educated a ... self-made American ... and active in the support of laudable public enterprises. ... A man of public spirit, intellectual attainments and exemplary character."
"Dr. William P. Welborn was a man of good business sense who provided well for his family. His estate at his death in 1898 included shares of stock in the local bank, utility company, land investments, and other assets in the amount of nearly $44,000 (not including the house on Hart Street). Shares of stock in the library, a printing company and the county agriculture society were evidence of his wide interests. The bank closed it's offices on the day of his funeral as did nearly every other business on the square. The outpouring of grief included nearly the entire town. A week later, a memorial service was held at the Presbyterian Church, where citizens as well as school children honored his memory."
"The Italianate style, first made popular in the United States in the 1840's and 1850's through the pattern books of Andrew Jackson Downing, retained it's popularity in rural Indiana until the end of the century. The Welborn-Ross house, typifies the asymmetrical type, often seen in farmhouses and city properties of well-to-do, influential families. It possesses the popular arched window, and complex brackets which are so indicative of the Italianate style. Yet, the overall impression of the house, because of it's substantial massing and it's setting, s one of permanence and solidity. The east wing, with it's low pitched roof, and second floor fenestration butted up against the roof line frieze, serves to anchor the house to the ground upon which it sits. The brick massing, particularly in the main wings of the house, and the flat limestone arches, tend to enhance the impression of solid conservatism. Balancing this is the free intermingling of symbols in the ornately decorated porch."
Jasper N. Davidson House
701 N. Hart St.
"The Princeton house that had the first modern bathroom and bathtub . . ."
"The Hart street Jasper Davidson House was built in 1895, facing east. Clay from the Davidson's country property was used for making brick onsite during construction. Exterior brick walls are 14 inches thick. Behind the house, a pond and stables occupied an area at the corner of Pine and West Streets. Live-in servants staffed the house assisting the busy Davidson family members in their daily routines. A floor heat register grate manufactured by the Tuttle & Bailey Mfg. Co. of New York still bares the patent date of August 3, 1886. Original window weight pulleys were manufactured by the Stover Mfg. Co. of Freeport, Illinois and bore a patent date of July 15, 1890. The upstairs clawfoot cast iron bathtub reveals a pour date of January 26, 1911. The Davidson's country house provided all the meat, fresh fruits and vegetables for the Hart Street town home. Eventually, once the house left Davidson ownership, it passed through the hands of several owners and ultimately went through a time of being divided into apartments. In 1984 the house was recognized by the State of Indiana as a notable example of Italianate architecture making it a potential nomination to the Indiana Register of Historic Sites and Structures. Subsequently, the house received it's official registration 2004. In the late 1980's and 90's new owners undertook renovation in an attempt to restore the dwelling back into a single family residence. It's current owners purchased the house in July 2001 and continue renovation which had begun previously. Some of the unique features of the house are listed below:
- 3700 square foot in 12 rooms and 3 full baths
- 10 foot ceilings
- 3 sets of sliding wooden pocket doors
- wooden fret work in entry foyer
- 3 coal burning fireplaces
- 1 gas log fireplace
- central staircase and rear service stairs
- full basement and attic
- screened-in rear porch overlooking an enclosed courtyard
Jasper Newton Davidson was born October 13, 1838 on a farm in Pike County, Indiana. He was parented by Joseph and Betsy Davidson and was born into a family rich in Scottish ancestry. At the age of 22 he united in marriage to his first wife Phavilla Cunningham, December 31, 1860. Together they parented 8 children, 3 of which died prematurely. They lived together in the Hart Street residence approximately 3 years before Phavilla's death in 1898. Jasper later married his second wife, Armitta Price of Franklin, Indiana. Mr. Davidson led an active diversified life. He held extensive and profitable oil interests in Pike County. At various times he served as Director and Vice President of Farmer's National Bank. He held large numbers of stock in the Gibson County Fair Association. He was active in politics and as a Democrat served as an Indiana State Senator from 1874 to 1878 and in Indiana's House of Representatives 1878 to 1880. Jasper became one of the largest land owners in Gibson County and enjoyed overseeing several farms in the area. He also owned a grapefruit ranch in California and was known to take the train to Kansas City from where he would travel by horseback to visit his ranch in Texas. Jasper was well acquainted with Indiana's pioneer history and contributed material for Colonel William M. Cockrum's book, "Pioneer History of Indiana" reprinted in 2003 by the Gibson County Historical Society. At age 86, Mr. Davidson fell at his Hart Street residence fracturing a hip. He died shortly thereafter, September 4, 1925. A Christian Science Funeral Service was held at his Hart Street residence with burial a mere two blocks from the residence in the I.O.O.F. Cemetery. At the time of his death, Jasper had 15 grandchildren and 9 great grandchildren."