Historic Landmark in Valparaiso to be Demolished

Sep 23, 2020

City of Valparaiso logo.
Credit city of Valparaiso

VALPARAISO - The once-grand and still historic Valparaiso mansion, known most recently as the White House restaurant, is coming down.

The building will be demolished next week after falling into decades of disrepair.

Valparaiso Mayor Matt Murphy said in a city news release that while it’s sad to see the building go, it has been equally sad to see it so long neglected.

Murphy says as the city and its citizens fondly remember the Valparaiso landmark, we also look forward to seeing new energy at this important corner of Valparaiso’s downtown.

The 21-room home was built at the close of the Civil War.  A fire in 1998 left the structure substantially damaged.

The city said prior to demolition, the home has been reviewed by architectural salvage professionals, rescuing notable fixtures, such as chandeliers, woodwork and hardware.

The property will be developed into owner-occupied homes known as Calkins Hill, named after William T. Calkins, the Valparaiso merchant and inventor who originally owned the property.  Faganel Builders LLC will do the development.

Calkins Hill will include eight paired townhomes and two detached homes, according to Larry Hitz, Broker/Owner of Berkshire Hathaway Executive Group, who is representing the property.

Hitz says they are already seeing a lot of interest from local buyers. To facilitate development of the entire corner, Valparaiso’s Redevelopment Commission has purchased the neighboring property at 301 E. Jefferson, which had also fallen into disrepair. The City intends to demolish the aged building currently on the site and later re-sell the property to the developers of Calkins Hill, at the city’s original purchase price, plus any carrying costs, including the cost of demolition.