Welcome to S.T.O.P. Inc. where history speaks.
"Saving the Old Properties, Inc", also known as S.T.O.P., is a non-profit organization working with communities, local governments, owners of historic properties, historic preservation organizations, and local historical societies to identify properties in danger, to find answers and strategies to prevent the further deterioration of historic properties, and to initiate programs and projects to ensure the conservation and preservation of historic buildings in the state of Indiana. The organization also works to inform the public of the need to preserve local cultural heritage and to educate our youth of the value of these historic buildings. S.T.O.P collects information from respected local persons to learn the history and stories of these local historic buildings and to tell the true history of these irreplaceable architectural treasures.
The initial inspiration for S.T.O.P. came from a traffic sign, the simple STOP sign. It is a universally known signal to stop, and failure to comply with this sign can have a tremendous impact on a person’s life. Saving the Old Properties, Inc chooses to heed the warning of the stop sign and is working to make a positive impact now before our history, preserved as it is in these historic structures, has crumbled away. S.T.O.P. strives to capture the history encapsulated in these buildings and let their stories be told through preservation, restoration, and bringing these building back to their former glory rather than watch them deteriorate or be sold and torn down. In doing so, S.T.O.P is able to keep the stories and history alive for the communities they are a part of, as well as for their place in the history of the United States as a whole. Too many historic buildings have become little more than a desolate building lingering in the distance on the horizon, deserted, deteriorating, and dreary.
The mission of Saving the Old Properties, Inc. is to instill an appreciation of history through the acquisition, restoration, and preservation of endangered historical buildings with architectural significance in the State of Indiana before they are destroyed by time or developers. Saving the Old Properties is also dedicated to the education of future generations by showing them the history in the physical form, allowing the youth to see and feel these buildings and to hear the stories they tell, and to instill pride for our country in the youth by showing the value of the past.
S.T.O.P. (Saving the Old Properties) was officially incorporated in October 2019, although the adventure and the mission began much earlier. Founders Dann Allen, along with his older twin brother Richard Allen (if you can really call 2 minutes older), started S.T.O.P. in 1996 with the purchase of a single building and a hope of preserving history one building at time. Dann is history lover, inventor, photographer, preservationist, nature lover, wheat thin eater, cat lover, and a very hard working man. The twins have been working to preserve historic properties for nearly two decades and began their efforts with The Old Blackford County Jail which was built in 1879. Dann and Richard Allen purchased the Jail in 1996, at which point the Jail became home for the twins, with their Heating & Cooling business office working out of the old sheriff’s office. Luckily, despite making the old jail their home, no structural changes were made to this historic structure, with the brothers simply utilizing living quarters within the building originally built for the sheriffs and their families.
While living at the Jail, the brothers began renovations to restore the building to its original state, stripping decades of paint from the woodwork and revealing the beauty that lay beneath. The hour of labor became a labor of love with the twins discovering a passion for saving historic buildings.
S.T.O.P. continues its work with its biggest project and adventure thus far with The Randolph County Asylum/Infirmary just outside Winchester, Indiana. The current Asylum/Infirmary, the third such building located at this site, was built in 1899 and built on the foundations of the first. That first original poor farm was built in 1851 but burned to the ground just four short years later. A second building was built and used for nearly four decades, but was razed to the ground due to poor craftsmanship and horrendous living conditions. The third building, like other poor farms, almshouses, sanitariums, asylums, county farms, and nursing homes, was established for the purpose of providing housing, medical care, and essential needs for the county's sick, retired, indigent, poor, and injured. Another major function of the Infirmary of course was to contain epidemic illnesses, as well as house individuals thought to be mentally unstable and indigent.
The Randolph County Asylum/Infirmary is situated on 4.6 acres of picturesque Randolph County, Indiana farmland. The Infirmary was operated by the county as an old folk's home following its tenure as an asylum and closed in 2006, remaining vacant for several years. During that time, the original window panes and witches hat towers were luckily preserved. The brothers Allen purchased the Asylum/Infirmary in 2015 and immediately began restoration efforts.
The beauty and history of this beloved building is currently enjoyed by a host of visitors weekly, attracting photographers, filmmakers, producers, wedding planners, school field trips, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, colleges, and charitable event organizers. Hosting these charitable events at the site has been among the most rewarding experiences for the owners, as well as the community. The Asylum/Infirmary has drawn many local citizens and their families, igniting a spark of passion for history and their town. The youth have become interested in the local heritage and willingly research the history out of curiosity. This excitement, desire to learn, and their growing level of interest is inspiring and gives hope that future generations will, like the Allen brothers, come to value and work to preserve the past.
Another recent addition to S.T.O.P. is Liberty High School located in Ohio City, Ohio. This 50,000 square foot school, built in 1917, is filled with gorgeous woodwork, brass fixtures, a magnificent showcase staircase, and an incredible entryway. The clean-up and repair process has just begun. However, the S.T.O.P. team, along with the community of Ohio City is excited to see what the future holds for this treasured building that holds so many childhood memories.
The latest property to be purchased by the Allen brothers is the General Ashael Stone Mansion located in Winchester, Indiana. This property, built just after the Civil War by Quartermaster General Ashael Stone, is on the National Register of Historical Places but is in need of some serious work and love. The front porch is in danger of collapse and the interior has multiple areas in need of repair, as well as a good cleaning throughout. As with all their other properties, the Allens immediately began work to ensure that the building is preserved and quickly finished repairs to the leaking roof, thus preventing further damage to the interior. Italian marble fireplaces, hardwood floors, and more beautiful woodwork are just a few of the must-see, must-save features of this historic home.
Work on the Stone Mansion is continuing and the property will be open to the public very soon.
Check back as S.T.O.P. adds photos to show the ongoing work to this gorgeous property.
All properties have been purchased “As Is” with varying degrees of degradation. Throughout the years S.T.O.P. has repaired roofs, eaves, replaced windows, scraped and peeled paint, fixed plumbing and electrical issues, shored up structural issues, and installed ventilation apparatuses to dry out problem areas. Most repairs have been completed by S.T.O.P.'s staff and community volunteers; however, as a matter of neccessity, S.T.O.P. has hired additional local professional help.
Our mission, and passion, is to preserve the history and architecture of thes iconic, irreplaceable buildings, structures, and properties before they are destroyed by developers. The quality of craftsmanship, beauty in design, and materials used in these historic properties is unmatched. S.T.O.P. has been able to restore these properties and show history in a physical form. S.T.O.P. also takes seriously its continuing mission to inspire future generations to take pride in our Nation by showing them the value of the past.
S.T.O.P. operates with the intent is to memorialize the lives that once roamed the halls of historic jails, lodges, infirmaries, schools, hotels, and many more buildings , encouraging the community to share their love for these iconic buildings and to be a part of the preservation process. When S.T.O.P. purchases an historic property, sellers are encouraged to put contingencies into place such as:
• The property/structure may not be stripped of original fixtures, woodwork, and anything historically significant to the community or building
• The property must stay in ownership for xx amount of years, otherwise, first rights are given to the (seller) opportunity to purchase the property/structure back at fair market value if improvements had been made after purchase
• The property upkeep both inside & out must be maintained by the property owner
• Will maintain structure
• The facility, structure and/or buildings may not be used as a place of storage
• Contingencies go with any future sale of the structures
Visit the Properties:
Here are some links to see the work going on at the properties, to arrange a visit, and to learn how you can help support S.T.O.P.
Old Blackford County Jail: http://www.oldhauntedjail.com
Randolph County Asylum: http://www.hauntedrandolphcounty.com
How You Can Help:
If you would like to get involved by volunteering your time or supplies, please call us at 765-808-8730 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.