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Party at historic Boyd House also celebrates Lincoln Highway

Boyd House 1500 Old Lincoln Highway near 73rd Avenue Interstate 65 Merrillville turns 100 years old. | Sun-Times Media

Boyd House at 1500 Old Lincoln Highway near 73rd Avenue and Interstate 65 in Merrillville turns 100 years old. | Sun-Times Media

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If you go

The Boyd House Feast will run from 4 to 8 p.m. Friday, June 28, at the Boyd House, 1500 Old Lincoln Highway, Merrrillville. Cost is $35 for Indiana Landmark members and $50 for nonmembers, and an RSVP is required. To register, log on to boydhouse-eorg.eventbrite.com/#

Updated: July 30, 2013 7:49AM



MERRILLVILLLE — History buffs and beer aficionados will gather at one of the town’s oldest structures to celebrate its age and grandeur Friday.

Businessman George Rogge, who owns the 100-year old Boyd House at 1500 Old Lincoln Highway, hopes those who’ve driven past the giant, red brick home at 73rd Avenue and Interstate 65 a million times but never knew what it was come out of his Boyd House Feast sharing his love of history. But if they come out for the good time and limited edition Rogge Ranch Ale, he’ll still welcome you.

“I’ve thrown parties for 11/11/11 and 12/12/12, so for the Lincoln Highway anniversary to coincide with the 90th anniversary of Rogge Insurance, well, that’s a once-in-a-lifetime event, too,” Rogge said. “And who knows if I’ll be here (for Rogge Insurance’s 100th anniversary)?”

Rogge, who lives in Miller, bought the Boyd House in 1998 from the relatives of Lenore Boyd Caltha, the last Boyd to live in the house and who died at age 94. The Boyds, who first came to Ross Township in 1848, purchased the initial 10 acres of land — some of which became one of the country’s first transcontinental highways — for $100 in 1854.

That property grew to 1,000 acres on either side of 73rd, but Rogge owns only 14 of those acres now, he said.

When he purchased the house, it needed a working bathroom, but otherwise, he didn’t do an exceptional amount of renovation. He did, however, stay true enough to restoration guidelines from Indiana Landmarks even though Boyd House isn’t an official landmark, said Tiffany Tolbert, director for the not-for-profit’s northwest region.

Tolbert said Rogge approached her about a year ago to put on an event commemorating the highway. Since Indiana Landmarks throws summer events, she agreed it would be a great idea.

“These events bring attention to sites that have been rehabilitated, for either their original or new use, so that people can see what preservation can do for an area,” Tolbert said. “And this is the first time for an event up here.”

Rogge will provide guided tours of the house, which is now full of car-racing memorabilia, as well as provide dinner and bluegrass music.

But a Rogge party would be nothing without a keepsake, so instead of providing engraved champagne flutes as he normally does, he had an only run, limited edition pale beer he named Rogge Ranch Pale Ale brewed for first-come, first-served attendees.

To round out the evening, the Indiana Plein Air painters will be on site to paint the house and event scene, and, perhaps the most exciting to Rogge, members of the original Boyd family are coming in from the East Coast.

“It’s one of the great-great-granddaughters and some of the others,” Rogge said. “I’ve never met them, but I hope they come with more information.”



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