Havilah Beardsley, Elkhart's founding father, built the first brick home in Elkhart in 1848. That home still stands on the corner of Main Street and Beardsley Avenue and in 2011, was opened to the public for tours. This historic house tour is not only unique in the fact that it includes stories of Elkhart's development, but also in that it reveals much about the restoration process.
Throughout the home, visitors can see the various stages of restoration both inside and out. For instance, in the dining room, small portions of the exposed brick have been preserved under acrylic panels so that guests can see where the ceiling height was raised two feet during one of the home's many renovations. Being able to actually peel back the layers of the house and leave key areas exposed is a great visual tool that helps people learn about history, preservation, and restoration.
It seems that each month, something new is happening at Havilah Beardsley House. Whether the exterior is being painted, gardens are being planted, or rooms are being furnished, there is always something new to see. As the home continues to undergo restoration, museum staff are coming across new stories about the house and Elkhart's history. Descendants of the Beardsley family built another historic house just one block away called Ruthmere. Both house museums are part of the same campus and offer discounted rates for tours if a campus pass is purchased.
With its convenient location, Havilah Beardsley house is close to restaurants, parks, Wellfield Botanic Gardens, and the Riverwalk Culture Trail. Why not start your exploration of Elkhart at the very beginning by taking a tour of Havilah Beardsley House? See you on the corner of Main Street and Beardsley Avenue, where inspiration from the past meets innovation of the present.
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Havilah Beardsley House 102 W Beardsley Avenue Elkhart, IN 46514 574-264-0330 Ruthmere.org Tours are Tuesday through Sunday on the hour from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. Adults $5 Students $2 Children under 5 are free with an adult Find on Facebook at Ruthmere Museum