A $30,000 grant from the Texas Historical Commission will allow the Gregg County Historical Museum to make needed renovations to the second floor of the Everett Building, where it is located.
The Everett Building at 214 N. Fredonia St. was built in 1910, is a Texas Registered Historic Landmark, and among five properties or districts in Gregg County listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The museum’s executive director, Lindsay Loy, said this is the second time the museum has received the grant from the Texas Preservation Trust Fund, which has only been awarded to 12 entities this year.
Information from the Texas Historical Commission says it accepted 30 grant applications in February, which have been whittled down to 23 projects that have reached the project proposal stage.
“Seventeen proposals were submitted to the THC in July. … Twelve proposals were approved for total funding of $271,275,” according to the THC.
The museum first received the grant in 2016 and used it to unbrick and rebrick the building’s north wall, Loy said.
“We had water encroachment through our north wall which ended up being a problem,” she said. “Until the end of the project, we solved the water problem; we stabilized the north wall, which opened the project to renovations on the second floor.”
The cost of the 2016 project was just over $100,000, $40,000 of which came from the Texas Historical Commission grant, she said.
Mark Thacker, the museum’s preservation architect, did such an impressive job of sending project reports to the commission that they contacted the museum and asked them to apply for this year’s grant, Loy said.
“They liked the fact that we had a plan for our building, that we knew what we were going to do with the second floor, that we had a museum in the building and that people came here every day,” he said. she declared.
According to Loy, 15,000 to 20,000 people visit the museum each year, which shows its durability to the Texas Historical Commission. The museum applied for this year’s grant in July and staff members were confident it would receive funding after a visit from a commission representative.
“So we started planning the renovation of the second floor, so a representative from THC came to meet with us and he said, ‘THC wants to fund all the restoration of your wall,'” she said.
Work planned for the second floor will span six rooms along the north wall and will include wall repairs, painting, new doors, trim, floors and more, she said.
“They wanted to focus on restoring the walls, because if the walls are stable, the rest is just kind of props,” Loy said.
The grant comes with a matching requirement of $30,000 from the museum, which Loy said he will seek from other foundations. A matching grant will be used for other items on the second floor that need repairs, such as plumbing, electrical, air conditioning and equipment, she said.
Three of the six rooms to be redone will contain artifacts from the museum’s Buddy Calvin Jones Caddo collection, which is the second largest prehistoric collection in the state, Loy cited. The other three rooms will be repurposed to house the museum’s archives and oral history library, she said. The museum’s archives are at capacity and the grant will allow it to expand them, she said.
Loy said receiving the grant means the Texas Historical Commission loves the work the museum does and is excited to invest in it.
“This grant will help expand the educational opportunities the museum has to offer,” she said. “It will allow more people to come in and see and search the collection…and we’ll have more people accessing our oral history.”