NEW KNOXVILLE – “We’re blowing the roof off donations,” said Todd Spieles, president of the New Knoxville Historical Society. Burgeoning donations for a first-ever fundraising effort are guaranteeing much-needed renovation work at the New Knoxville Historical Society property in the village.
On Tuesday, Spieles said the donations already stand at $16,292 toward their $25,000 goal. The campaign, which began Dec. 14 and ends Feb. 14, will fund repairs of five buildings owned by the society. This is the first fundraiser for the Historical Society since being formed in 1984.
“I know people have a deep respect for history in this area,” said Spieles, “but the enthusiasm of donors still has impressed me.”
Work to be done includes power-washing, tuckpointing, and sealing the bricks on the 1890 building which housed the office of Dr. Henry Fledderjohann. Repairs to the summer kitchen located behind the frame home originally owned by Dr. Gustave Zuelch, then Fledderjohann, include replacing windows, painting the roof and repairing the chimney. The log cabin on the property will have repairs made to its porch posts as well as its foundation. The dry rot of the log cabin timbers will also be remedied. The barn on the property will be either painted or sided. Spieles pointed out the that barn, which was moved to their property, was originally built by the local Methodist church to house horses and carriages while services were held at the church.
The amount of money being raised may seem modest compared to the scope of work planned. Spieles said most of the funding will be used for materials because of volunteer donations of time and skills.
“We have some very dedicated people who will use their talents to do much of the work,” he said. “Work is expected to begin in the spring and we now know we feel we will be able to finish all the repairs in time for the planned reopening on Sept. 11, 2021.
Visitors to the fall reopening will see other changes. For example, a May 2018 fire inside the Fledderjohann doctor’s office, which Spieles said had been almost a blessing in disguise, allowed some remodeling.
“We were able to re-purpose the rooms while cleaning up the soot,” he said. Thankfully, he added, insurance paid for the $100,000 in fire damages caused by an overheated humidifier
Those wishing to donate can go to the Historical Society’s website at http://user.nktelco.net/historicalsociety/images/Fundraiser%202021%2001.jpg. Other information can be found on their Facebook page.
Checks can be mailed to New Knoxville Historical Society at 09798 State Route 219, P.O. Box 372, New Knoxville, OH 45871. The group also has set up a PayPal account and Venmo account ready to accept donations for NKHistory.
The writer is a regular contributor to the Sidney Daily News.