• That's what I'm thinking. Watch out for that first step - J.Barrick

The National Block, Wabash, IN

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The first time I saw this building (below) it was in a quintessential Second Empire decay mode. I really assumed it would be demolished but someone took control of the situation and brought it back to it's original splendor. As usual, though, it is a bit less dramatic as a pristine restoration than it was , crumbling on the verge of abandon!

"At the time of it's construction in 1876, the National Block was the most ambitious building project the city of Wabash had ever seen. The project of local businessman, William R. Collins and the First National Bank of Wabash, the structure served as the headquarters of the bank, and also contained four ground-level shops, multiple offices, and an upper story hall. Since it's completion, the building has served multiple businesses, and organizations, including a bookstore, offices for the fire department, and the Royal Arcanum Lodge. The Second Empire style National Block is three stories with a rectangular plan. It's corner diagonal entrance is thought to be the first of it's kind in Wabash. Quite notable is the Mansard roof with two towers, eight dormers and multi-colored slate. In 1998, Wabash Marketplace Inc. completed a restoration of the building to it's current appearance."


In the background, the tower of the Wabash County Courthouse can be seen.

Ian von Talee, Paul McClure DC, and 8 other people added this photo to their favorites.

View 3 more comments

  1. smokeytoo 55 months ago | reply

    Amazing makeover. They did a awesome job with this. You capture both of these shots wonderfully. The old and the knew.

  2. borzoibob 55 months ago | reply

    Great shots Jon. Nice that it's been restored ( looks as though it's sympatheticaly done) But I do prefer that seedy run down look ! Lol

  3. Lake Effect 55 months ago | reply

    It's great that you've got the before and after shots. Although I love the old crumbly look, I'm really happy it wasn't destroyed. Great photos.

  4. mountain4pam 55 months ago | reply

    Wabash I see, or is it ? LOL.. yes it is, and your photos of the buildings are stellar Jon.. that little camera still does a great job ! And of course you do too..

  5. Decrepit Telephone 55 months ago | reply

    Oh I LOVE this - not over-restored, but just right. The rundown look was lovely, but this has its niceness as well.

    But... I gotta say... it NEEDS roof cresting. Heh. (Everything's better with eastlake cast-iron roof cresting)

  6. swainboat 55 months ago | reply

    Wow! What a change a restoration made on this grand old building. Great shot, It's a beauty!

  7. radargeek 55 months ago | reply

    They did a good job, wow

  8. arrow734 55 months ago | reply

    Wow, what an amazing restoration! I am so glad to see such a pretty place restored, and not destroyed...such a charming style, they just don't make new buildings like this. Thanks for showing this encouraging image : )

  9. pam's pics- 55 months ago | reply

    Very nice looking street. I like the before shot too

  10. brakes4bunnies 55 months ago | reply

    they did a wonderful job, its always nice to see these restored rather than torn down.

  11. SCOTTS WORLD 55 months ago | reply

    What an awesome restoration, excellent shot!

  12. Trains & Trails 55 months ago | reply

    That is such a huge magnificent building. I am sure you had to stand back pretty far to fit it all on the picture.

  13. Norm Stephens 54 months ago | reply

    Neat shot Jon! I was through there a few weeks ago, but I didn't take time to stop for pictures.

  14. Marty Hogan 54 months ago | reply

    stunning structure
    always nice to have a before and after shot too!

  15. J.Barrick 54 months ago | reply

    Really nice restoration--enjoy seeing the before and after photos. Interesting that there appears to be another door two stories above the main entrance, but there is no balcony.

  16. History Rambler 54 months ago | reply

    Great comparison shots!

  17. Soon-Tzu Speechley 54 months ago | reply

    What a glorious building! It does lose some of the picturesque appeal once it's tidied up, but it's so good to see buildings like this rehabilitated and saved from the wrecking ball.

    Unfortunately, we're seeing a spate of new development destroying bits of Victoriana and Deco here in Melbourne at the moment - too often it's about capitalising on prime real estate, and getting the most floor space out of a plot of land. This is the sort of project that shows how sensitive restoration can really make a shabby building sing again.

    I love the colours in this photo, by the way! The sky is amazing!

  18. Equinox27 54 months ago | reply

    Thanks, everyone!

    Yes, I think it probably lost both the cresting and a cast iron balcony. I believe there are replacements still made for both if they care to go that direction.

    One thing that keeps many old buildings intact is the lack of economic vitality in a city. When real estate prices are low they aren't so tempting to tear down and replace. Not sure if that is totally the case in Wabash or not.

  19. Soon-Tzu Speechley 54 months ago | reply

    Most definitely! A perfect example of that is Italy - the economy was appalling through much of the twentieth century, and the result was dozens if not hundreds of towns all perfectly preserved.

  20. The Lost Canuck Photography by Cody Kapcsos 38 months ago | reply

    Amazing what a little paint can do to a building!

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