Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Travel

September 11, 2012

Old 'village' finds itself on the auction block

CNHI News Service

ROCKVILLE, Ind. — Anyone who wants to own a part of history has a chance to buy an entire historic village.

For the right price, a person can own two covered bridges, 30 buildings from the Civil War era and a modern party pavilion.

Billie Creek Village, a long-time staple on the school field trip circuit, covers about 70 acres, and is located north of Terre Haute, not far from the Indiana-Illinois border.

Charlie Cooper purchased a controlling interest in the village about four years ago after financial struggles threatened the local landmark.

“I’m 80 years old, and we farm out here. I got my hands full with the farm operation,” Cooper said of one reason for the sale. “I want to get it [the village] into the hands of younger people.”

Cooper declined to state his asking price for the property. However, an advertisement from Indianapolis-based auctioneer states that bids must be submitted with a deposit of $50,000.

Included in the sale are antiques, equipment, furnishings and the inventory of the General Store.

Parke County has one of the best collections of covered bridges remaining in the U.S. and draws many tourists, especially in the fall.

Kathy Harkrider, executive director of the tourism group Parke County Inc., said Billie Creek Village is a wonderful asset that “shows the best of Parke County and the people who live here.”

The village — which includes multiple buildings such as a blacksmith, broom shop, pottery, school, livery, churches, candle shop, merchantile, farm house and a print shop — was staffed by volunteers and artisans who paid a portion of their profits to the village.

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Details for this story were provided by The Tribune Star in Terre Haute, Ind.

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