Open-house at 917



Building a Preservation Portfolio
Even in decay, the Craftsman house at 917 South Adams Street in Marion is a standout. Samuel Plato, Indiana’s first licensed African American architect, designed the 1905 estate. At one time, Marion boasted several landmarks attributed to Plato. Today, only a few of his designs remain, making the house an even more important community landmark.

Earlier this year, the owner donated the property to local preservation group, Save Our Stories (SOS). As soon as the ink dried on the new deed, SOS mobilized an army of volunteers to clear mounds of debris from both the main house and the carriage house. Using a loan from Indiana Landmarks, the group is replacing a leaky roof and restoring brickwork on the main house. We also supplied a grant from our Efroymson Family Endangered Places Fund to restore leaded glass windows on the house’s sunporch. Once exterior repairs are complete, SOS will market the property with protective covenants to a new owner who will finish the restoration.

Founded in 2012, Marion’s nonprofit preservation group, Save Our Stories (SOS), has championed projects including adaptive reuse of the Marion National Bank, saving the Wolfe Law building from demolition, and developing preservation guidelines for the city’s downtown commercial district.

“We’re pleased that Indiana Landmarks’ covenants will protect our investment in the Plato property,” says William Munn, SOS president and Grant County historian. “The partnership has been an invaluable asset for our organization’s growth. We’re able to take on more, larger-scale projects due to the expertise and confidence they have instilled in us”.

To show progress at the Plato home, SOS is hosting an open house on Saturday, September 28, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Visitors will be able to enjoy refreshments and take self-guided tours of both the house and carriage house. Tickets are $5 at the door on the day of the tour. All funds will support ongoing rehab of the property.

For more information, contact Paul Hayden, director of Indiana Landmarks’ Northeast Field Office, 260-563-7094 or


Samuel Plato Honored in Louisville

Marion architect and civic leader Samuel Plato was honored February 17th, 2019 in Louisville,  Kentucky by the Kentucky Historical Society with the placement of a historical marker at Temple AME Church. Attending from Marion were Bill Munn SOS President, Sue Munn and Moriah McReynolds. Also attending was Paul Hayden Regional Coordinator for Indiana Landmarks.

After the the unveiling, Martha Kunnecke Board Chair of the Samuel Plato Academy of Historic Preservation Trades gave the dedication address.

Memorial window placed in the Temple AME Church by Samuel Plato

“Marion Studio Project Grows In City’s Downtown”


Photo by Eric Helvie

The Marion Studio Project, located at 803 South Washington is featured in an article on WBST by Sara Barker. Organizer Eric Helvie and residents Madison Moser and Sophie Stewart discuss the scope and purpose of the effort to connect local young artists with the arts community in New York City.

Listen to the report in full by clicking the link below

Marion Studio Project Grows in City’s Downtown

The Front Porch

My grandparents would sit on the front porch every evening from late spring to early fall marking the official beginning and end of porch weather. The cushions on the glider bore the imprints of both of them, grandma’s on the right, and grandpa’s on the left.

From their perch, they would survey the neighborhood, spectators to the continuous baseball game going on in the lot across the street.

Next to the glider was a wicker basket filled with prewar National Geographics and post-war Arizona Highways. No radio, no television, air conditioning supplied by rice paper fans sent home from Hawaii by Aunt Bonnie.

From after dinner to the cool of the evening they sat and then repaired to bed.

What are your stories of the front porch?

Bill Munn