Reeve Committee Updates Council on Project’s Status,
By MARISA STOTTER
Specially Written for The Westfield Leader
WESTFIELD, August, 2008 – At last week’s conference meeting, the Historical Society of Westfield gave an update on the renovation of the Reeve House project.
The society plans to restore the 1870s Italianate-style house to its original architecture and convert it into a museum. While money for the home’s restoration has been raised, nearly a half-million dollars is needed to cover the cost of an adjacent carriage house.
Karrie Hanson, chairman of the building design committee project, gave an update on the restoration of the house since the project began one year ago.
The Reeve House, located at 314 Mountain Avenue, has been fully painted, and a security system has been put in place. Plans are currently being drawn up for gardens and landscaping and an architect has been hired to restore the original structural design of the house.
Over the last few months, asbestos abatement, mold remediation, removal of oil tanks, soil remediation and roof repairs have taken place, in addition to the exterior carpentry and painting work.
According to Ms. Hanson, the project will continue into “phase two” in the coming month. This part of the project will include internal repairs such as electrical and plumbing work.
Following completion of the Reeve House restoration, the Historical Society will begin construction of a humidity- controlled archive building on the property. This building, modeled in the style of a carriage house, will contain the society’s archives and records.
Bill Shepherd, head of the Reeve House Project’s financial committee, presented a breakdown of the project costs.
According to Mr. Shepherd, the restoration of the Reeve House will cost a total of $800,000. The construction of the carriage house will cost $500,000. Mr. Shepherd said $870,000 has already been raised to cover the restoration of the Reeve House.
Mr. Shepherd said the Historical Society has applied for a number of grants to pay for the construction of the carriage house, and plans to launch a fundraising campaign in Westfield to raise funds for the project.
Second Ward Councilwoman JoAnn Neylan asked Ms. Hanson and Mr. Shepherd if the Reeve House, upon completion, would be rented out to the public for use. Ms. Hanson said that the Historical Society is considering making the property available for hosting private functions and walking tours.
According to Ms. Hanson, the society’s new slogan, meant to energize membership, is “Meet me at the Reeve House. Meet me on the porch.” The Reeve House was deeded to the Town of Westfield in 1985, from Ralph and Edgar Reeve, the only descendents of the Reeve family. The deed was contingent upon the agreement that Edgar Reeve would live the rest of his life in the house and that the town would use the property only for charitable, municipal or other public non-profit purposes.
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