Cole Porter's birthplace in northern Indiana needs facelift

AP News
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Posted: Apr 11, 2016 4:15 PM

PERU, Ind. (AP) — Efforts are underway in the northern Indiana city of Peru to spruce up the two-story wooden house where composer Cole Porter was born in 1891.

A renovation project started in 2004 to transform the house into a three-room inn and museum dedicated to Porter's life. It currently attracts about 10 visitors a month and houses memorabilia from the man who wrote songs like "Anything Goes" and "Night and Day."

"If you're a fan of Cole Porter, this is a no brainer. You want to keep this place going," said John Kirk, who has leased the home from Ole Olsen Memorial Theater since 2013. "If you like Cole Porter, you want this house to be here for a long time."

But the house's exterior needs additional work, especially the peeling 10-year-old coat of yellow paint, which gives it a shabby appearance, the Kokomo Tribune (http://bit.ly/1Nkk0Uv ) reported.

"The inside looks great. It's held up nicely since the renovations," Kirk said. "But the outside needs some help. When you drive by, you wonder if the rooms look like what the outside looks like. It's just not reflective of what we have going on inside the walls."

An online fundraising campaign was launched last month to raise money for work on the home.

The first phase seeks to raise about $12,000 for a new paint job. The second phase aims to raise $5,300 to transform the outdoor patio into a dining area and to install showers in each of the three guest rooms.

One of Kirk's long-term goals is to turn one of the home's rooms into a tap parlor where beer brewed by Kirk Bros. Brewery, which is run by himself and his brother, could be served.

He said the tap room would fit well with the house because Porter's grandfather owned and operated a brewery in the early 1800s.

Kirk noted that keeping Cole Porter's birthplace looking nice is mostly about maintaining one of the city's most interesting and marketable landmarks.

"I think it's important to our community to have this house here," he said. "Not many towns have someone as famous as Cole Porter come out of them. When you live in a town like Peru, you wonder if people can ever make it big, and we had someone who did."

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Information from: Kokomo Tribune, http://www.ktonline.com