in stone homes around Madison
tour is free, and
reservations are not necessary
Helen E. McKinney
(October 2010) When George and Tanya Schnell
moved into their historic home a little over three years ago, they never
dreamed they would one day be included in a home tour. Even though they
are still in the process of restoring their stone home, it is well worth
the drive to see it.
and Tanya Schnell are still
in the process of restoring their
stone house on Pleasant Ridge
Road in Madison, Ind.
Weve never even gone on a home tour ourselves,
said George Schnell. The couple was asked to be on the tour and showcase
their circa 1852 home on Pleasant Ridge Road.
The Schnells home is one of three to be featured on the upcoming
Stone Houses of Jefferson County tour taking place from 1 p.m. to 4:30
p.m. Saturday, Oct. 23. The driving tour is sponsored by the Jefferson
County Historical Society.
Schnell believes the stone home was originally built by Mathias Wolf
and was a 168-acre land grant. Wolf was an immigrant from the Bavarian
region of Germany and his wife from Austria. The home stayed in
the same family for 125 years, said Schnell.
The last Wolf descendant to live there was Bernard Wolf, who continued
to farm it until he sold the property in the mid 1970s. After that,
it changed hands a few times until the Schnells bought it in February
They moved into the home in March and started renovating it two
days later, Schnell said. The result is our interpretation,
he said of the home in which he and his wife and four children live.
The house is still under major renovation inside and out. The Schnells
are replacing windows in the front of the house. They will be historically
accurate wood windows, he added. They have also changed the roof material,
which began as woodshake shingles and is now metal. They have added
a post and beam front porch
From pictures found at the local library, Schnell thinks the porch was
added in 1919. The couple has done a lot to enhance the details
of the house, he said. It contains joists underneath the house
made from trees with the bark still on them.
The home contained some oddly-shaped rooms and exposed stone walls when
the Schnells purchased it. The property still contains some post and
beam barns, one of which is used as a garage. A double layered brick
outdoor kitchen contains a stone foundation and a smokehouse that is
topped with a very unique concrete, rounded roof.
Its a very difficult thing with an old home, said
Schnell, to keep it historically accurate and make it livable,
especially with a large family.
Those interested in taking the driving tour must meet and leave together
from the Madison Railroad Station, located next door to the Historical
Society, 615 W. First St.
For some reason, people just love stone houses, said Joe
Carr, the societys executive director. You just dont
see them elsewhere in the country like you do here in Jefferson County.
Carr added that no other county in Indiana or Kentucky has so
many rock houses. They reflect much of the early ethnic immigrants
Irish, Scotch Irish, Scots and German pioneers.
The tour is free and reservations are not necessary. Contributions are
welcome to help support the society. Other homes on the tour include
Howard Breedens home on U.S. Hwy. 421, and Dale and Liz Sides
home, located on Taits Ridge Road.
For more information, contact the Jefferson
County Historical Society at (812) 265-2335.
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