Hundreds of people attended an event on Depot Street in Greenfield earlier this month, which included tours of the grain elevator property, soon to become The Depot restaurant and pub. (Mitchell Kirk | Daily Reporter)
Hundreds of people attended an event on Depot Street in Greenfield earlier this month, which included tours of the grain elevator property, soon to become The Depot restaurant and pub. (Mitchell Kirk | Daily Reporter)
GREENFIELD — For about a century, the grain elevator on Depot Street was a place where people gathered to do business for their farming operations.

While it has outlived its original purpose, the property’s new owner has plans for people to congregate there once more, this time as a restaurant, pub and event center.

The public recently got an opportunity to learn more about that vision and tour the 114-year-old building before construction ramps up. Excitement is building over plans to preserve a local landmark while providing a unusual dining option, soon to be known as The Depot.

Located at 240 W. Mill St., the property was built in 1906 and expanded upward in the 1940s. At 116 feet, it’s the second tallest building in Greenfield, behind only the courthouse. It’s been out of commission for about 20 years.

A steady stream of visitors, with capacities restricted due to COVID-19 precautions, made their way through the main floor of the grain elevator earlier this month.

Thomas Moore, owner of the property, said the more people learn about and visit the building, the more they want to find a way to be there.

“And I said, the only way to do that is a restaurant,” he continued.

It holds a special place in many people’s hearts, Moore said, whether from doing business there themselves throughout their lives or having family members who have.

He thinks the restaurant and pub will be a draw for those living outside Hancock County too.

“We have something that nobody else has now,” he said.

During work that’s occurred so far, the elevator’s original basement that was covered for decades was discovered and cleaned out. Moore has plans to place glass over it so it’s viewable to patrons.

“You’ll still be able to sit over this having dinner and be able to look down at the original 1906 basement,” he said. “This place, you don’t have to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to bring in the cool factor. It does it itself.”

The second floor of the building will be for private dining, with room for 70 people. Everything above the second floor will be sealed off.

Bricks are being added to the east side of the building from an old school building at County Road 200S and Morristown Pike.

Moore is also planning to add onto the building an event center with a capacity of up to 250 people and a rooftop bar.

Visitors of the recent open house got to peruse a preliminary menu for The Depot and submit suggestions.

Moore’s leaning toward dishes that complement the property.

“A lot of pulled pork, a lot of briskets,” he said. “It fits.”

He’s planning tentatively for a May 2021 opening, but it all depends on the state of the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly when it comes to the event center.

Maggie Dellekamp, one of the open house’s visitors, said she’s looking forward having a local restaurant that’s modern and family friendly.

“I’m really excited that they’ve repurposed space in town and can’t wait to come eat here,” she said.

Angie Wagner, who also toured the building, thought it was a good idea to let the public walk through before the rest of the work gets underway.

“Talk about creating energy toward it,” she said. “It’s great.”

Dellekamp likes the menu too, particularly one of the starters.

“Anywhere with fried pickles has our business,” she said.

Dave Anders, who visited as well, said the property is in an ideal location for a restaurant.

“We’ve needed something like this for a long time,” he said. “We need another restaurant, but more importantly, we need outdoor seating. Nobody wants to have to sit on (State Road) 9 or (U.S.) 40 and suck in truck fumes.”

It’ll also provide needed space in town for bigger groups, he continued, and overlook the upcoming Depot Street Park.

“This’ll be wonderful, and it’s quaint, and it’s our history,” Anders said.

Cathleen Huffman, a local watercolor artist, had works on display at the open house of historic grain elevators from her Bicentennial Legacy Project, which were featured on PBS’s “Journey Indiana.” She said a lot of the grain elevators she’s visited have fallen into disrepair or have been demolished.

“Thankfully these people are working really hard to save Greenfield’s grain elevator,” Huffman said. “And it’s amazing; they’ve done great work. It’s part of our skyline, you know? Nobody wants it to go.”
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