Oldham Co. Historical Society
begins plans to renovate campus
Fundraising kicks off to raise
$2 million in ambitious effort
LA GRANGE, Ky. (October 2014) – The Oldham County Historical Society on Aug. 8 launched a two-year fundraising campaign to raise $2 million for an overhaul of its historic campus in La Grange. In January 2014, a special group of History Center supporters came together to develop a Vision Plan that was formalized by Solid Light Museum Consultants in Louisville.
Recently, a partnership was made between the History Center and Encompass to embark upon the first phase of construction plans and costs for the project.
Architect John Stewart, president and CEO of Encompass Develop Design & Construct , a La Grange-based company, will be working closely with the History Center to develop plans that will incorporate the campus’ three historic buildings for a cohesive renovation.
Today’s Oldham County Historical Society campus consists of two buildings built in 1840 that were formerly houses and a third built in 1880 that was a church.
Two of the buildings are former homes built in 1840; the third is a church built in 1880 that was attended by Rob Morris, founder of The Order of the Eastern Star. The History Center’s goal is to be the “Oldham County History Place.” This campus will be the place where history comes alive.
Stewart said he is “excited to have the opportunity to be a part of making history. I see this project as something that will last a long time. It will definitely have an impact on the community.” Stewart and his firm have previously worked on a number of museums including work for the following corporations: YUM! Brands, Churchill Downs, Taco Bell Headquarters, Brown Forman, and the Darrell Griffith Athletic Center at West End School in Louisville.
To date, the History Center has received more than $23,000 toward this effort from the Peyton Samuel Head Trust and Robins Foundation. The History Center is holding private and public fundraisers during the next two years to help raise the $2 million needed to cover renovation costs.
According to Nancy Theiss, executive director of the History Center, the History Center complex will complement the newly opened CityPlace Visitor Center in La Grange. “We anticipate our History Place working in conjunction with the new Visitor’s Center, as the CityPlace will attract new businesses and tourists to our community. Our History Center draws people from all over the United States each year in search of their ancestry and cemetery records. This effort broadens our opportunities to expand the wonderful archives and educational efforts that we bring to Oldham County as well as the region and beyond.”
Positioned in a strategic area along the Ohio River, Oldham County was truly the gateway to the West when the Illinois and Indiana Territories attracted pioneers. As a borderland county for the Underground Railroad as well as slave trade, the rich history of America can be studied through the lens of smaller communities such as those in Oldham County. People can identify places where they live through history, which provides a greater respect for their community and civic identity.
The Oldham County History Center has become a place where people bring their stories and experiences, whether it is World War II veterans sharing stories through the Veterans Oral History Project or life experiences through The Living Treasures program. The renovation for the History Center is needed for technological updates on exhibits and archival storage to keep information accessible to the community as well as building preservation and restoration of the historic property.
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