MARKLEVILLE — The Hardy Building in Markleville was the sight of the annual Christmas in Markleville celebration on Saturday, Dec. 4 , during which Santa visited with children, vendor booths offered goods for sale, and lunch was provided without charge (although free-will offerings were accepted).
“There were a lot of kids there to see him,” said Jan Fox, a member of the events committee. “And we made the most money we ever made on the donations for the hot dogs and chili.”
The event garnered about $425 from booth rentals and donations, which will be used for community needs.
The event could mark the end of era of sorts, Fox said, as she and her husband, Wayne, sold the Hardy Building in August. Located at 1 W. Main St., the 15,000-square-foot building dates to 1914, two years after the town was incorporated.
There were a few scheduled events, including Christmas in Markleville, that were allowed to go on as part of the deal.
The Foxes owned the building for 27 years, and the Christmas event has taken place there the whole time.
“It seems like it is probably the last time it’ll be there,” Jan Fox said, saying that organizers have been considering where they might hold the Christmas event next year.
However, the new owner, Ryan Miller, said he is more than willing to help continue the town tradition, if organizers want to.
Miller, a Fishers resident, said he’s in the process of renovating the building into an event venue, with up-to-date amenities; he said he plans to preserve as much of the historical structure and appearance as possible.
He said the cost to rent the new venue for private events, such as a wedding, will be markedly higher than what the Foxes charged, but there would be an exception made for Christmas in Markeville, which he would ensure can continue.
“I don’t see why we can’t have it there every year,” he said. “I’m definitely not going to take that away, for sure.”
The building housed W. H. Hardy and Sons Hardware from its beginning until about 1960, Jan Fox said, after which it became the site of a stove manufacturer. Prior to the Foxes taking ownership in the mid-1990s, someone else owned the building briefly but didn’t put it to use, she said.
The Foxes bought the building — which has an elevator that went to the structure’s three floors and a coal shoot indicating its original heating method — to save it from the wrecking ball, Jan Fox said. They renovated it and rented it out for occasions such as weddings, gradution parties and birthdays. Auctions and dancing classes also took place there.
Miller said he’s going to finish off the first and second floors and the garage, and make the main level ADA compliant.
He said he will replace the windows or otherwise make them energy-efficient, preserve the look of the building’s exterior and make the elevetor operable, if possible.
And there’s no doubt what the new venue will be called.
“We’re going to keep the name — The Hardy Building — because that’s what it is,” he said. “There’s no point in changing it.”