ANNA — The Anna District Historical Society will hold a grand opening for its Packer Historical Center on Sunday, June 23, from 1 to 4 p.m. The center is located at 112 W. Main St.
The Packer Historical Center has belonged to the Anna District Historical Society since October 2016. Linda Glessner, one of the founding members of the ADHS, purchased the house at the Shelby County sheriff’s auction for $75,000. She then resold it to the ADHS for $1.
Glessner’s only stipulation was that the house be named in memory of her aunt and uncle, Dick and Onalee Packer, longtime residents of Anna.
The house itself was built in 1911 by Dr. and Mary Johnston. Since then, the house has had 15 different owners, including the ADHS.
The first order of business after purchasing the house from Glessner, was to fill in the hole with gravel where the porch had collapsed in order to be able to get the house insured. This gravel was then reused when the new porch deck was poured.
Many other improvements followed, including the addition of a completely new electrical system, new heating and air conditioning, an ADA compliant restroom, and new attic windows. The cost of these upgrades totaled approximately $48,000.
All hardwood floors, upstairs and down, were refinished by volunteers, which resulted in savings of nearly $10,000.
Additional volunteer work included the painting of all rooms with period appropriate colors, bathroom renovation, and kitchen renovation.
Largest project by far, monetarily, was the porch renovation, which included stone pillars and balustrades, new steps, and an outdoor wheelchair lift (to be installed this summer). This project totaled around $100,000.
The stone pillars and balustrades were manufactured by Custom Cast Concrete from Westfield, Indiana, and the ADHS members are dedicated to preserving, as much as possible, the original look of the house.
District residents have donated over $30,000 to the porch renovation by “purchasing” balustrades and pillars to honor loved ones
The ADHS has also offered family and group sponsorship of various rooms. Thus far, $40,000 has been brought in through this sponsorship program.
A $50,000 grant from Honda of America, along with substantial grants from the Community Foundation of Sidney/Shelby County, the Bensman Family Foundation, and St. Jacob Lutheran Church, have all eased the financial burden of the Packer House upgrades.
Additionally, several local businesses, including Wells Brothers, Steve and Ted’s, Chad Troyer Drywall, Jeff Heinrichs Painting, Steinke Fabrication, along with other community members, gave work and materials a reduced cost.
The ADHS also has future plans to complete ADA compliant parking at the back steps near the wheelchair lift, perform foundation repair, porch ceiling repair and painting, window replacement, new siding to reflect the period look, and landscaping.
The Packer Center will likely serve several purposes within its community, including the display and preservation of artifacts and history from Anna, Kettlersville, and McCartyville, with all artifacts tagged, organized, and stored at the center. The ADHS has also discussed holding historical programs for community members and school-age children.
After the grand opening, the center will be open several days a week, for limited hours, and also by appointment.