Ripy House: Love at first sight

-A A +A
By Meaghan Downs

I’ve fallen in love with a house.
If I were a proper member of my generation, I would be in a serious relationship with my iPhone, not besotted with the T.B. Ripy House.
Not the most conventional match, I know.
As a part of my series on downtown Lawrenceburg, a tour of the only historic landmark designated by the historic district commission — a group looking to preserve a swath of Main Street residences and business— seemed essential.
I don’t delight in the spoils of a war between a house and the wear and tear of time.
But neglected beauty fascinates me.
Curling wallpaper reveals a country tableau pattern underneath.
Dark cherry paneling smooth to the touch.
 Evening light fading through dirty stained glass windows.
Its ceilings had me at the cobwebbed and intricate crown molding in every room.
Despite the appealing mystery and romanticism of the Ripy House, I know there’s a lot of work to be done to return it to its former glory.
There’s bats in the attic and holes where ceiling should be. And, I’m sure, countless other fixer-upper problems.
But despite the damage, the Ripy House is worth fighting for.
Like most types of infatuation, I may be viewing my hopes for the restoration of the Ripy House through stained glass colored idealism.
Just like it takes money to bring businesses into downtown Lawrenceburg, it’ll take a considerable amount of money to repair the House that bourbon built.   
I know the reality, but I can’t help but hope for the possibility of realizing a restoration.
It’s not enough to speak to future generations of what homes like the Ripy House used to be like.
They need to feel the wallpaper and the carved banisters underneath their fingertips.
Seeing, as they say, is believing.
Perhaps it’s a little soon to be wearing my heart on this column.
But I’m certain the same passion for preservation exists in the hearts and minds of others who don’t want a part of their city’s history to be forgotten.
And if that passion isn’t there, then maybe you should find it.
If I was as lucky as many of you to have grown up in one spot for long enough, I would fight to the last floorboard to keep its history alive.
For no one said preserving Lawrenceburg’s history would be easy.
After all, love — in all its many forms — never is.