Many urban neighborhoods have a need for infill construction, where homes that were lost to deterioration or other reasons must be replaced. Here in Irvington we have a unique case where a gas explosion in 2004 eliminated three houses instantly and blew out windows in a one-block radius. (images from kipar-one here)
In an explosion this bad, we are lucky that nobody died. It’s actually a fun conversation topic to ask people in the neighborhood, I’ve heard several variants from “slept right through it” to “the coldest nights of my life, took a week to replace the windows.”
Just this summer, the last destroyed house was replaced. The first one, at the corner plot, did not leave anyone thrilled. The second one was a solid infill project. And happily, fate saved the best for last – a two story traditional American home that is perfect for the neighborhood.
All homes featured were built after the approval of the historic district status, but I think the quality is improving because developers are now aware that poor designs are much less likely to be approved. I believe that historic development requirements can have a good impact on neighborhood development, and I’m glad that it remains an option here in Indiana.