Time marches on—Historic houses remain
Published in Times Mail newspaper April 4, 2018, by Becky Buher, Guest columnist
In 1825, it took a village called Palestine to create a new town named Bedford. Illness in Palestine required creating this new town. The unique history of Bedford comes alive when we realize some of the Bedford’s early architectural history still exists today.
The surviving houses from this time period are a testament to the significant roles their owners played in creating a thriving community, and they remain a vibrant part of Lawrence County’s bicentennial story.
During Bedford’s early period, houses began appearing on lots in the original town plat. Robert M. Carlton, county agent, was in charge of exchanging lots in Palestine for Bedford lots as well as selling lots in the new seat of justice. When residents exchanged their lots in Palestine for lots in Bedford, some people actually moved their buildings to the new town.
The only house known to exist today from the Palestine house-moving era is an historical treasure known as the LaForce/Glover/Hitchcock house. It is located at 1111 13th Street. In circa 1825, the post and beam structure was probably dismantled at Palestine and rebuilt on a grassy hillside on Bedford’s Lot 122. When repairs and updates were done in the 1970s, its hand-hewn square post and beam construction was rediscovered. The house was built using yellow poplar and white oak. The floors in the front rooms are wide boards held in place with square nails, and the wide baseboards remain. Floor-to-ceiling cupboards are in the dining room. The basement was apparently dug around a huge limestone block, and basement steps were carved from the limestone. The house received an “above average” rating in Indiana Landmarks Foundation of Indiana 1992 survey of the county’s historic sites and structures. Most recently, Elizabeth Hitchcock lived in this house. It is currently on the market and is awaiting the next steward of this amazing historic house.
Glover house at town's edge
Joseph Glover was a sheriff, first at Palestine, and later at Bedford. Palestine was about three miles from Glover’s home and remnants of the Palestine road still exist near the front of the house he built. He purchased land in 1816 near what is today 25th and G Streets. He first built a log house with two-rooms separated by a center dogtrot. In 1818, he built the first frame house in the county—two large rooms, each with a fireplace. Lastly circa 1830-1840, he built a ten-room Federal-style brick house. Materials for each of these houses came from his land. Of the three structures, only the brick house remains today, and Glover family descendants have lived in the house generation after generation. Its current owner is Carol Anderson.
brick house near downtown
In 1829, Bedford’s first resident, Samuel Bishop, must have been land speculating when he bought seven lots for a total cost of $100. These were in addition to the lots on which he had previously built his own residences. This house at 1401 Lincoln/L Street was built on two of his new lots. The house received an “outstanding” rating in Indiana Landmarks Foundation of Indiana 1992 survey of the county’s historic sites and structures. The first use of the word premises for this property is found when Bishop sold Lots 41-44 to Elias and Elizabeth Albertson in 1832. Premises and appurtenances were recorded in the 1833 property transfer when Albertson sold it to James C. Lynn. Albertson bought the property again in 1837, and then sold it to Daniel R. Dunihue in 1840.