Jane Hammock was on the board of the Boone County Historical Society (BCHS) when the Cragun House was donated in 1988. Thirty years later, she has seen the house continue to mark history. Now the president of the society, Hammock is about to embark on another capital campaign for the 1893 historical landmark.
“It took $90,000 to get the house in order originally,” Hammock said. “Every floor, wall and ceiling has been renovated. The house has been sided three times and the roof has been replaced two times.”
In March, an upstairs window on the east side of the house was broken by the wind and the house has other damage that needs to be addressed.
The home, which was built by newspaper publisher and Lebanon school superintendent Strange Cragun and his wife, Addie, offers tours and event rental. However, with the restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic, it hasn’t brought any revenue in over a year.
The Victorian home came complete with furniture, clothing, silver, china, books, journals, school uniforms, financial information, and toys from the Cragun family. The BCHS has tried to maintain and restore the home through fundraisers, donations and tours. The board volunteers to clean and dust the many treasures within the home.
Though the Cragun family were prominent citizens who traveled and maintained active roles in Lebanon society, they were not without tragedy. The twin daughters, Opal and Ethel, both died in childhood, by consumption and smallpox.
According to Hammock, she believes Addie’s presence can still be found in the house. Lights blink and the floors creak with no explanation.
“She is a friendly presence, but we have a board member that refuses to go upstairs alone,” Hammock said.
According to Hammock, a favorite story of the house is one of a young girl who said she was not ready to leave because she was still talking to the young girl in the mirror, possibly a ghost of one of the twins.
The BCHS goes along with the haunted possibilities and always decorates the upstairs windows for Halloween.
Addie’s possessions are still displayed throughout the house. Her evening dresses and accessories adorn the master bedroom. Her washbasin and ivory hairbrush are still laying on the vanity. Her teacup, along with the twins’, (they have their names on the bottom of it) still sits in the curio cabinet. Hints of the life they led are displayed throughout the house.
“Ninety-nine percent of the things in the house were left by the Craguns,” Hammock said.
However, there are other historic treasures located in the house. Two Boone cabinets donated to the organization are located in the Cragun kitchen. A quilt displayed at the courthouse for 40 years sits in the genealogy room, where residents can come to research secrets of their own pasts.
Anyone wanting to donate to the Cragun House restoration should do so on the website at www.boonecountyhistorical.org.
The board also welcomes new members to join them on the first Tuesday of the month at the Cragun House at 7 p.m. The annual Lincoln’s Lebanon will be held on Sept. 25 and 26 at Memorial Park and the Halloween Party will be on Oct. 16 at Sugar Creek Art Center.
404 W. Main St.
Lebanon, IN 46052
To learn more about touring the house, or to reserve it for an event or meeting, call 765-483-9414 or email firstname.lastname@example.org