HOBART — A once-abandoned house that had been the home of two mayors now has a second chance. The restored residence has a new owner.
An open house was held Saturday for the former home of Fred Jr. and Gladys Rose at 784 Lincoln St. The three-story house, once headed for the wrecking ball, was refurbished by OnCall Construction.
“We took possession about three years ago,” said Chris Triber, owner-operator of OnCall. “We had a vision to see it finished. The structure was solid; it just needed a lot of love.”
Built in 1908, the house had fallen into disrepair. Break-ins, vandals, thieves, and squatters had turned the 2,670-square-foot corner property into an eyesore. Woodwork and molding were gone, ceilings were peeling, floors were peaking and there were cracks around the place.
Triber started a complete gut of the structure, saving only the original hardwood floor and the one remaining radiator.
The house has two kitchens, three bathrooms, five bedrooms and a basement. Formerly a multi-family structure, it was restored to a single-family dwelling.
“To me, the main thing is that former mayors lived here is unique," Triber said. "The house was on its last leg and it took a lot of dedication and money.”
Triber had originally considered doing a quick flip of the house and making it a rental unit. Upon learning of the history behind the house, he changed the scope of the project.
Mayor Brian Snedecor praised Triber for “rekindling history. Chris has kept the original house, but at the same time he has applied modern standards. He’s done an excellent job of maintaining the history.”
Triber also restored the garage and added a wooden fence. He also gave the ponderosa pine house a new coat of paint.
The open house was a benefit for the Hobart Historical Society, whose president, Paula Isolampi, is a neighbor.
“I’m very pleased," Isolampi said. "They’ve done an amazing job.”
A former City Council member, Fred Rose Jr. served as Hobart’s mayor from 1939-47 and 1952-59. Following his death in 1959, his wife Gladys served the final two months of her late husband’s term, becoming the city’s first female mayor.
Both members of the Hobart High School class of 1912, Fred and Gladys Rose were also both born on Valentine’s Day. Fred also served as auditor for Lake and Porter counties. He died Oct. 18, 1959; Gladys died March 23, 1987.
Gladys Rose was the great-granddaughter of John Wood, who founded the grist mill at Deep River County Park.
Fred Rose Park, along Eighth Street in Hobart, was dedicated May 29, 1960.
Among the relatives at the open house was Suzi Emig of Hobart, a first cousin twice removed who remembered trick-or-treating at the Rose property.
"A lot of homes today are so modernized they’re not recognizable,” Emig said of the restoration. "They’ve brought this house back to life."