THREE-STORY STONE HOUSE, TAYLOR STREET, CANNELTON, INDIANA


( Between Third and Church Streets)

The time of the construction of this stone building might be deduced from consideration of the following circumstances existing in Cannelton in the early 1850s.

1. The ECONOMIST, 28 April 1849 (and many subsequent issues).

"Circular of the American Cannel Coal Company. . . . "For the present, the Company offer lots at very low rates to individuals or companies, on condition of improvements to a specified amount, and within a limited time. . . . . The Company will also, for the present, give clay and sand from their pits, timber, and stone from their extensive and valuable premises, for all buildings erected on the property."

2. The ECONOMIST, 16 June 1849. . . . "The American Cannel Coal Company give lots for all religious and educational purposes, and also building materials as are found on their property."

3. INDIANA WEEKLY EXPRESS, 10 July 1852. . . . . "H. Smith, Esq., the active and energetic President of the Coal Company, has recently sold some forty building lots, principally to persons who were not owners of real estate here. Improvement to the amount of $200 is to be made on all of these lots within twelve months."

4. INDIANA WEEKLY EXPRESS, 6 November 1852. . . . "Permission to take timber and wood free of charge from American Cannel Coal Company land is now withdrawn. H. Smith, Pres. & Agt."

5. INDIANA WEEKLY EXPRESS, 22 January 1853. . . . . . " Several good stone buildings are in progress of erection in the vicinity of the Catholic Church." [Between Seventh and Richardson Streets on Madison Street extended.] "We hear the Col. Taylor designs putting up a block of substantial brick buildings on Taylor Street between Third and Fourth." [Proposed on the northwest side of Taylor Street but never built.]

6. Perry County Deed Record, 5 April 1854. . . . The American Cannel Coal Company deeded a 60 x 125-foot lot on Washington Street between Richardson and Quarry Streets to three trustees of a proposed Baptist church. In the deed were two restrictions: 1. The church must be built in one year; 2. The church must be active in two years. Since St. Michael Catholic Church was built at the site in 1858/59 these two requirements were not met.

7. Perry County Deed Record, 1853. The American Cannel Coal Company deeded the lot on Seventh Street mentioned in Item #5 above to Owen Fealy, stating that two structures had been erected, one on Seventh Street and one on Richardson Street. Fealy died by the end of the year and his son, Peter Fealy, had the nearly twin structure southeast of the first built ca 1855/56.

8. The ECONOMIST, 10 August 1850. . . . . . "Messrs. Jones and

Cotterell began erecting 6 dwelling houses for Eusebius Hutchings on Square D." [Bounded by

Washington, Sixth, Adams, and Seventh Streets.] The deed was not made until 15 January

1852. By 9 November 1850 Dr. J. Groves was at No. 3 Hutchings.

9. The ECONOMIST, 9 March 1850. . . . "Judge Bry of Monroe, La., one of the stockholders of the Cannelton Cotton mill, has purchased square F to erect a block of 6 tenements. The deed was dated 7 May 1850. [Bounded by Taylor, Sixth, Congress, and Seventh streets.]

Even without the support of evidence which could be collected from a survey of Coal Company deeds in the early 1850s one should be able to assume with some degree of certainty that the Coal Company made deeds for residential lots after the $200-plus improvement had been made. If a deed were to be made prior to the improvement, the improvement and time restrictions would be specified.

The Coal Company had initially sold the 121 x 75-foot lot (#135) between Third and Church Streets on Taylor Street on 21 March 1853 to John L. Jones for $225 (the cost of the lot, not the building). Since there were no restrictions in the deed, it is most probable that a building existed by that date: A frame structure on the Third Street end of the lot. [The random stone pattern on the southwest side of the stone building demonstrates that it was built against the frame structure.]

The 57 x 75-foot end of the lot at Church Street was re-sold to Lewis G. Smith of Spencer

for $100 just seven weeks later on 9 May 1853. This 57-foot dimension lies between Church Street and the northeast side of the stone building. Three possible explanations for this 57-foot dimension are; 1. The stone building was planned; 2. It was construction; 3. It was completed by 9 May 1853. There is also a strong possibility that the stone for the building was provided free of charge by the Coal Company (see item #1 above).

The data listed above strongly suggest that Spring and/or Summer 1853 is the time during which the building was constructed. When Adam Schmuck purchased the 64 x 75-foot on Third Street on 28 December 1854, the price of $600 included both the frame and stone buildings. This same property sold for $800 on 30 October 1905.

STONE BUILDING -- 309 TAYLOR STREET

The precise time of the construction of the 3-story stone building at 309 Taylor Street has not been found in any known record. The following data suggest a probable time.

The American Cannel Coal Company initially sold the entire 121 x 75-foot lot (#135) between Third and Church Streets on Taylor Street on 21 March 1853 for $225. The Company had a standard policy that a building with a minimum value or $200 must be erected within a year. Very frequently the Company and buyer made a contract but the deed was not delivered until the building was erected.

When the two-story frame structure at Third and Taylor was razed in February 1992 clues to the construction history of it and of the stone building adjoining it on the northeast were revealed. The pattern of rubble and dressed stone on the southwest wall indicates that the original frame building against which it was built was smaller than that which was razed in 1992. Also, there was no exterior finish on the northeast end of the frame building.

It does not seem likely that the $225 price included a three story stone building and an attached frame building. However, the unusual 57 x 75-foot size of the lot on the Church Street end which sold for $100 just 6 1/2 weeks after the entire lot purchase on 9 May 1853 strongly suggests a substantial reason for that dimension: The 57 feet from the northeast side of the stone building to Church Street.

One probable sequence accounts for the above collection of facts: Both the stone and frame structures were built at the same time -- during the year preceding 21 March 1853, the frame building first, then the stone building. Adam Schmuck purchased the remaining 64 feet of the lot on 28 December 1854 for $600.

A five-picture panoramic view from the upriver side of Castlebury Creek at First Street made in 1863 shows the distinctive roof of the stone building rising above the trees. Adam Schmuck operated a bakery from this property. By 1861 he opened a Beer and Wine Cellar in the stone building. A sub-cellar, it beneath this one served to store and cool the beverages.

The structure which was razed in 1992 could have been a larger new structure or a greatly remodeled version of the original. The interior finish and woodwork was thought by several persons to be of late 19th century style.

The entire Schmuck lot was transferred to Frederick arid Christine Diener on 20 September 1881. Dieners sold it to Thomas J. Truempy on 30 October 1905 for $500. Suzanne Savage obtained the property in June 1975 with a view of restoring it. However, she moved from Cannelton and it has fallen to Karen Tierney, the current owner, to restore it.

There are local traditions that the Coal Company utilized this building as an office and that the cellar served as a station in the underground railway for runaway slaves. There does not appear to be much room for either tradition in the above collection of data.