Ernie Pyle’s birthplace added to National Register of Historic Places

Ernie Pyle. This image is available from the United States Library of Congress‘s Prints and Photographs division.

Hoosier State Press Association Press Release

The Indiana Department of Natural Resources informed the Friends of Ernie Pyle that the birthplace of the World War II correspondent has been placed on the National Register of Historic Places. The federal Department of the Interior added the Elder-Pyle House on the National Register on Aug. 25. DNR told The Friends of Ernie Pyle that the official State and National Register certificates will be presented during a special ceremony at the Indiana State Fair in August of 2022 in Indianapolis.

“We are ecstatic over this level of recognition for the historical and cultural significance bestowed on Ernie Pyle’s birthplace,’ said Steve Key, president of the Friends of Ernie Pyle. “We hope this national designation will allow us to tap into resources that will help us preserve the legacy of our nation’s best-known war correspondent.“ It’s important that Hoosiers and Americans understand the hardships and accomplishments of the generation that survived the Great Depression and then were asked to fight a war to preserve our democratic freedoms.” Authorized by the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, the National Register of Historic Places is the official inventory of sites with national, state, or local significance in the development of our nation’s cultural heritage. Listing on the National Register is official recognition of the significance of the farmhouse and provides a measure of protection for the property.

In Indiana, the National Register is administered by the Department of Natural Resources. In addition to a degree of environmental protection, owners of listed properties may be eligible to apply for matching federal grants for restoration or preservation work if funds are available.

The Friends of Ernie Pyle hope the new recognition will bring extra points to its current effort to receive funding from the state’s Historic Renovation Grant Program to restore the clapboard siding of the farmhouse built in 1851 by the Elder family. Pyle was born in the white, two-story farmhouse with Greek Revival features on Aug. 3, 1900.The Friends of Ernie Pyle have been saving contributions for years to afford the much-needed repair work. They were greatly helped with a $39,000-plus donation from the Indiana Department of the American Legion, when then-State Commander Rodney Strong made the museum his personal project in office.

The Friends of Ernie Pyle is a non-profit entity that took over the operation in 2010 of the then state historical site, which is now open as the Ernie Pyle World War II Museum. This summer, the museum is offering free admission to all visitors through a contract with the Helt Township Trustee’s office. The museum is currently open on Friday, Saturdays and Sundays.

Visit https://erniepyle.org/ for more on Pyle and his life.

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