A capital campaign project the Highland County Historical Society started back in 2014 is now nearly complete after the installation of 21 new windows and some upstairs renovations at the society’s Highland House Museum.
“This was always part of the capital campaign project, but we really hadn’t addressed it,” said John Kellis, the historical society’s finance chairman.
It was due to generous donations from historical society members and community members that made the recent work on the museum that was built in 1844 — ironically the same year the society’s Scott House was built — possible.
Kellis said the society had about $10,000 left from the capital campaign when Bob and Dorothy Hodson, original members of the historical society, made a significant donation to help purchase windows for the museum’s east side. Then in the late winter of 2021 the society went to its membership and explained that it would like to install new windows as well as their deteriorating concrete sills and trim both inside and outside.
The society purchased widows for the museum’s east side about 18 months ago and stored them in the Scott House until more money could be raised. The membership responded with 59 donations totaling $23,025, which was more than enough to complete the east side windows restoration.
“We said if we could get enough to do the front windows, we could complete the project,” Kellis said.
Society member Lynn Neal told the board about Operation Roundup Grants available from the South Central Power Company. The society applied for and received a grant last June, allowing it to purchase windows for the front of the museum.
COVID-19 and other issues slowed the project down a bit, but local contractor Brad Tira, who had done earlier work on the museum, committed to replacing the windows this spring.
The new double-hung windows are just like the original windows, Kellis said, except they are insulated and have gas between the panes that reduces the strength of sun rays coming through them and better protects the heirlooms inside.
In addition to the windows, there were a couple storage rooms on the top floor of the museum that were in disrepair, and longtime historical society member John Glaze donated $18,000 so that work could be done before the new windows were installed.
“That kind of completed renovations on any rooms in the museum,” Kellis said. “We’ve checked off a lot of boxes the last seven years due to the generosity of the community and grants. It seems like they always step up when you need them.”
There are 13 new windows at the east side of the museum and eight in front. The capital campaign included major repairs and upgrades to the Scott House in recent years.
Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522.