Valley House has a long-established history in Franklin County.

The building, originally constructed in 1852, served as one of the oldest hotels in Indiana. Because of its longevity, many people have fond memories of the building including Chuck Campbell who serves on Franklin County EMS.

Campbell lived in the Valley House Hotel for a year when he was 10 years old. His grandparents, Bill and Dusty Williams, leased the building, and they had two rooms facing Main Street. One room served as the living room and the other as a bedroom.

His grandpa had a day job and would bartend at the hotel at night while his grandma ran the kitchen. During the day, Mary Hertel would serve as the bartender. According to Campbell, a popular event in the hotel was the piano bar.

Campbell's cousin, who happened to be a talented piano player, would travel from Ohio, bring his organ and play on the weekends. Campbell said he would play and people would stand around him and listen and sing. He was able to watch his cousin play as the piano bar was located in the dining room and not the actual bar area which children were not supposed to be in.

“Everybody always looked forward to him coming,” said Campbell.

Campbell's memories are a stark contrast from what is going on in Valley House Flats now. He recalls using coal fire furnaces during the winter and exploring the third floor of the Valley House.

“I would go up there once in a while to explore around,” said Campbell. 

There was one time when he recalled finding a bat. Using his bug catching kit, he caught the bat and brought it downstairs to show his grandma and Hertel. As can be expected, his grandmother told him to get rid of the bat or he would get rabies. What he didn't tell his grandma was there were plenty more bats on the third floor. 

“It was pretty good times,” said Campbell. 

Campbell was still living in Valley House when the dam was being constructed. A lot of their customers at night were those who were building the dam. Campbell said he still has a picture of himself sitting on the shoulders of one of the workers. Campbell said he even remembered welcoming Garry Reister home from Vietnam in 1970-1971 when they held a welcome home party for him at the hotel. 

While Campbell knows Valley House is quite different from when he lived there, he's excited to see what it's going to look like. 

 “I'm looking forward to seeing it done,” said Campbell. 

While construction is still ongoing at Valley House Flats, the goal is to have tenants living in the building by the end of the year.