Friday, February 18, 2011

Open House

Kell House – Forever Yours!
Free Open House

On Saturday, March 5th, Wichita County Heritage Society invites you to an Open House at the city’s most beloved landmark – the Kell House!  The Museum will be open free of charge from 1 to 4 p.m., with volunteers on hand to discuss the upcoming stabilization and restoration project and point out the gradual aging of the 102-year-old home.  Join us for:

v  Free Tours, including areas never before seen by the public
v  Light Refreshments
v  A Special Presentation at 2 p.m. by Structural Engineer Gary Oatman
v  A Children’s Corner with Storytime and Crafts
Share the excitement that’s building within the walls of the Kell House and peek through a window into the past.  A special display will give you an idea of the full scope of the project, and volunteers will be on hand to answer all your questions on the history and future of the Kell House.  The Kell House belongs to the community; learn how you can help to save it for generations to come.

Help to keep the Kell House Forever Yours!  Get involved today!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Kell House Stabilization Project – Phase I

The Kell House is coming into a very exciting and busy time!  With the Structural Inspection done by Gary Oatman in hand, we are now working to fix all the trouble areas it points out and stabilize our 102-year-old treasure!  The coming months will see many changes, and each visit will bring something new to see.

Staff has worked with Mr. Oatman, the Kell House Committee, the WCHS Board, and our contractor, Anthony Inman, to outline all the work that needs to be completed and divide it into three phases.  Phase I encompasses the stabilization of the Kell House.  Phase II will address the restoration of the exterior of the Museum.  And Phase III concentrates on restoring the interior of the House.

Phase I is already underway, and staff is diligently working to raise the estimated $250,000 to $300,000 needed just for this first part of the work.  Included in this phase are:

  1. Moving the collections from their current storage in the attic.  The weight of the collections has caused much of the strain on the second floor of the Kell House.
  2. Completing asbestos and lead based paint surveys to be used throughout the project.
  3. Abatement of the asbestos underneath the House.
  4. A topographical survey to determine what is drawing water to the foundation of the house.  This will be used later in Phase I as we work to take water away from the House.
  5. Replacing missing roof tiles and making other roof repairs, including the replacement of the decks over the balconies as well as the library.
  6. Replacement of much of the gutter and downspout system.
  7. Getting stray electrical lines off the ground under the house and tied back up to the joists and beams as they are supposed to be.
  8. Repairing the foundation of the Kell House, including the perimeter, porch, and underneath the House.
  9. Leveling the concrete steps around the Museum where possible, with the possibility of having to replace some of them.
  10. Removing trash and debris from underneath the building.
  11. Replacing all the ductwork underneath the Museum.
  12. Redirecting the plumbing lines.  Currently there is no water in the Kell House, but the main water line comes to the House before being routed to the Carriage House.  This work will take the Kell House out of the water line, and will include adding outdoor spigots around the property.
  13. Repairing the basement floor and walls.
  14. Improving the drainage system.  This will include the installation of a French drain system, tied into the gutters, to take the water away from the Museum.

As you can see, Phase I alone will be quite a lot of work.  We want our visitors to know what is happening now and what to expect in the coming weeks and months.  I will do my best to keep you up to date!