While working on the Elston exhibit for the Lilly Library I came across some neat photos of the Homestead.

I saw for the first time – and clearly – the Elston Homestead as it was when built.  These photographs are from the 1880’s.

The photograph below is a zoom of the photo above. This picture was taken of the front of the house, as it was when it was built.

The doors that we can see clearly in this scan now lead from the entry hall into the kitchen, as there have been numerous additions to the north of the original house. The Homestead was built facing on to what is now Main Street. It had a long front yard and this wrought iron work at its front door.

In the early part of the 1900’s two lots on Main were sold and two lovely homes were built there. At that time the house was re-oriented to the west, as was the original iron work porch. when IC Elston III bought the house in the 1920’s, it was a bit dilapidated. Here is a picture of it at that time.

Here is a picture following the first remodel of the 1920’s by IC Elston III .

A very different home indeed. Also very different from what we know today. Ike had a wooden porch built on the Pike Street side and the original brick streets are still visible. Quite a change from the Homestead that we see today.

In this photograph we can see both wrought iron porches on the home. The one at left is, I believe, the original iron piece and the one over the front door is a replica.

The Elston Homestead has seen a lot of history since it was built in the 1830’s – a lot of changes too! Yet it still serves as a place where things happen, a hub of activity and an exceptional home.  For nearly 80 years this home  was the scene of parties and picnics which included the movers and shakers from the town and those from the College.

Following Ike’s death, he willed the Homestead to Wabash for the use of her presidents. For nearly 50 years the Homestead has been home to the President of Wabash College and continues to be a place where the town and gown meet for parties and picnics. A great homestead, a gift from a great family.


Beth Swift