Chauncey Rose moved to the area that is now called Rosedale to start a milling business. He quickly expanded into other business opportunities in nearby Terre Haute as his wealth grew.
Rose is credited for building the Praire House in Terre Haute in 1838. He purchased the land after it was foreclosed by George Rapp from the Markle family at auction when they where forced to sell to cover debts from a distillery fire in Vincennes, IN. One of Markle’s son’s later sued Rose claiming he was not notified about the foreclosure of the property, but lost the suit in the Indiana Supreme Court.
Rose built the Praire House to offer the Army Corp of Engineers a place to live after relocating to Terre Haute while constructing the Cumberland Road. A myth that Rose had bribed the Army Corp to put the road next to his hotel has persisted for years. This myth was unfounded, but other bribes and kickbacks surrounding the property do ring true.
Rose considered donating the property to education in 1866, 11 years after reopening it with an additional floor and a new name. The Terre Haute House.
This, would not happen, as some Terre Haute bussiness bought it instead.
Rose went on to give away most of his fortune in New York as well as Terre Haute. Rose was the benefactor to Providence hospital, Rose Orphanage, Rose-Poly ( now Rose Hulman Institute of Technology) and the free dispensary.
The Terre Haute House eventually came into the hands off the Hulman Family. Tony Hulman purchased the The Terre Haute House in 1959.
As luck would have it, Interstate 70 came through the south side of Terre Haute and new hotel’s sprang up along exit 7. By 1970 The Terre Haute House was closed and the last remaining business moved out of the property in 1980.
An attempt was made to refurbish and reopen the The Terre Haute House in 1995. This effort was stopped by fellow hotel owner and bank member Greg Gibson. The opinion was that Terre Haute should not try to provide any incentives that might be viewed as favoring one entity over another.
Another effort was made in 2002 called Haute Maison. The group secured the necessary funding commitments in the form of syndication of Historic Tax Credits, New Markets Tax Credits and certain state credits. Mayor Kevin Burke stopped those efforts to renovate the building by convincing the Hulman Family to allow the city to take control and create and publish a request for proposals for the structure. Burke’s campaign platform had included tearing down the Terre Haute House from the early days of his mayoral run. Even though several proposals were submitted to preserve the historical structure, none were approved. Finally Greg Gibson bought the entire city block from the Hulman Family and built the Hilton Garden Inn.
Gibson then as a member of the Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Capital Improvement Board, was instrumental in getting the city and county to raise funds to build a Convention Center. Gibson was also successful in lobbying the Indiana Speaker of the House to help Vigo county implement it’s food and beverage tax. This is to build the convention center downtown which will be connected to Gibson’s newest hotel, a Marriott.
Gibson was also able to purchase a casino license from a defunct River boat in Gary and with the help of Mayor Bennett, was able to lobby the Indiana General Assembly to allow for a casino to come to Vigo County.
Voters overwhelmingly approved the measure Nov. 5th to allow the Gibson casino to come to Vigo County.
Although, the State Legislature implies that other casino operators will be able to compete for the Vigo County Casino license, Gibson has stated that his Spectacle Entertainment, and property next to his Hilton branded hotel on state road 46 will be where the casino goes.
Greg Gibson has since stepped down from the Capital Improvement Board to focus on developing his business interest. Indiana Speaker of the House Brian Bosma is believed to still have a contract will the Board who signed him in June 2018 where he is a partner at Kroger Gardis & Regas.
Terre Haute and Vigo County have committed $25million to building the Convention Center. The Convention Center is expected to have a operating loss/gain of around $50,000 a year.
Thanks to Chaucey Rose’s Philanthropic endeavors, and Greg Gibson’s expert balancing of public investments for private profits, Terre Haute will be forging new empires for years to come .