Carpenter House renovations underway after Pearl Cleaners fire

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Published: May. 23, 2023 at 10:27 PM CDT
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EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - A historic Evansville home is now in need of more renovations after the Pearl Cleaners fire last Wednesday.

Water damage after the fire is just one more change in a home with a long history of changes. It’s also an extra item on a long list of renovations for the new owner.

For almost her whole life living in Evansville, the Carpenter House has been on realtor Theresa Catanese’s radar.

“I have always loved this building, have watched it for years, said Catanese. “The woodwork and the details of this building I just loved.”

Catanese said more than anything, she loves the house’s history.

“This home was tied to the Underground Railroad, and legend has it, there was a tunnel going from the house to the Ohio River,” said Catanese.

Catanese said she has been acquainting herself with the history of the home and the many changes it’s gone through over the years.

The home has stood since 1848, and over time it’s been a house, a tv and radio station, and soon to be a realty office. In each transition, change is needed.

“We were just about to close on it,” said Catanese. “We actually closed on it the day after the fire.”

Catanese said they watched from the upstairs window as crews fought the Pearl Cleaners fire right next door. Water from fire hoses seeped into the basement from a pipe carrying telephone lines.

Catanese said they just dodged the costs to pump water out, but there’s still some signs of the flooding. She says they’ll just add that to their pile of renovations.

“It’s worth it,” said Catanese. “Every dollar I put into this is just wonderful. It’s a piece of history and we’ve got to keep that history.”

When asked about that tunnel, Catanese said she hasn’t found that yet, but if you happen to know more about it, feel free to speak up.

They suspect it’s probably been covered up at some point, and they’d love to make it a local attraction.

In the meantime, Catanese suspects they’ll spend most of if not more than the next year revitalizing the home.