One of New Albany’s most prestigious houses in the Mansion Row Historic District, the Victor Pepin House was constructed in 1851 and is a notable example of the Italian Villa style. The imposing brick mansion with central tower is based on a pattern-book design by noted Philadelphia architect Samuel Sloan. The Pepin House is located in the Mansion Row National Register of Historic Places District and in the locally regulated Mansion Row Historic Preservation District. Any exterior alterations must be reviewed and approved by the New Albany Historic Preservation Commission. Historic Landmarks Foundation of Indiana also holds a preservation easement on the property and must approve all exterior work as well.
Mr. Pepin was the cashier of the New Albany Branch of the State Bank of Indiana located at Bank and Main Streets in downtown New Albany. The Pepins only lived in the house for four years before selling it to Sebre and Eleanor Howard for $25,000.00. This price included an additional 50 foot lot on 10th Street.
Mr. and Mrs. Howard lost the house six years later to a bank foreclosure. In September 1863, John P. Cromie bought the structure for $7,500.00. Mr. Cromie was a coal and lake ice dealer in New Albany. He died in December 1884 and August Barth purchased the home a year later for $10,000.00. This began a tenure of 65 years of the Barth family living here. Mr. Barth was the proprietor of the August Barth Tannery, located at East 10th and Water Streets, just one block south of his house. He died in February 1902, but the tannery remained in existence until about 1985. Hugh A. Barth, the last family member to live in the house, died in February 1950 and the home was then sold to the Turley family in the early 1950s. The photo below likely dates from early in the Barths’ period of ownership.
The house became the Turley Nursing Home from the mid 1950s through the late 1960s and operated by Mrs. Anna C. Turley. The property was later rented to Mary A. Muir as an antique shop, restaurant and residence. In 1989, Anna’s son Forrest, sold the home to his stepson Steven Hendricks and his wife Hays. Hays was the director of the Southern Regional Office of Historic Landmarks Foundation of Indiana. The Hendricks remained in the house until Steven accepted a music-teaching position at Bemidji State University in Bemidji, Minnesota in 1996. The structure has seen several different owners in the intervening years.
In 2007 Ron and Christine Smith acquired this forlorn home, then bank-owned for four years after a foreclosure, and began a several year restoration and update maintaining the originality: Horse-hair plaster walls and ceilings; painted ceilings, oak and pine floors, gas fixtures, and more; then removing a 1920’s period leaky Steam-Heat Boiler/Radiator/Pipe system and adding new: plumbing, electric, Modern HVAC, and a Gourmet Kitchen. In 2013 The Pepin Mansion began hosting weddings and events and in 2014 became a fully accommodating B&B.