(Posted Dec. 15, 2016)
By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor
In June, Nancy Dever, executive director of the Madison County Historical Society, wrote a letter to the Madison County commissioners, asking for financial assistance for maintenance projects at the Society’s museum and grounds in London.
The commissioners offered the Society a two-for-one deal—for every dollar the non-profit raised on its own, the commissioners would match two dollars, up to $50,000. To take full advantage of the offer, the Society had to raise $25,000. They were given a year to do it. They met and exceeded the goal in less than six months.
On Dec. 12, Dever and several Society board members and supporters met with the commissioners to announce they had raised $27,579.52. The commissioners agreed to match the entire amount, bringing the county’s obligation to $55,159.04, and the grand total to $82,738.56.
“We are profoundly impressed by the accomplishment you pulled off,” said Commissioner Paul Gross.
Dever replied, “When you stood behind us, we stood tall.”
The Society hosted a bluegrass concert and silent auction to raise some of the funds. They also collected donations at their annual Jonathan Alder Day and from faithful donors and members. In-kind contributions came through, too, via donated labor to re-gravel the facility’s driveway and patch the museum roof.
Other projects on the Society’s to-do list include re-chinking the logs in the Kitchen House (a log cabin built in London in 1828), reinforcing a weak wall in the museum, replacing the museum’s main door, repairing decking on the museum’s High Street side, and adding signage on High Street to more clearly direct visitors to the museum’s entrance off of East First Street.
The commissioners suggested that the Society call on Rob Slane, county administrator, for help in bidding out projects. Gross also encouraged additional pursuit of donated labor and materials.
Commissioner Mark Forrest praised the Society for its efforts, not only on the fundraising project, but in preserving and promoting the history of Madison County.
“We’re appreciative of everything you guys do,” he said.
The Madison County Historical Society museum is located at 260 E. High St., London, and is open to the public from 1 to 4 p.m. Sundays and Wednesdays and by appointment. The Society also holds educational programs for school groups.
In addition to various collections of memorabilia in the museum and outbuildings, the grounds are home to the Kitchen House, Jonathan Alder’s cabin, a one-room schoolhouse, a blacksmith shop, and a caboose. For details, call (740) 852-2977.