ORIGINALLY WRITTEN CYNTHIA MARTENS
The Schaeffler House, the historic Queen-Anne-style mansion in Hillsboro, was approved Feb. 23 by the Kansas Historic Sites Board of Review to be included on the Register of Historic Kansas Places.
Built in 1909, the house is located at 312 E. Grand.
“This listing on the national and state register provides new recognition and support for Hillsboro history,” said David Wiebe, director of the Hillsboro Historical Society.
Wiebe and Steven Garrett, Hillsboro city administrator, supported the nomination at the meeting in Topeka.
The National Register is the federal government’s official list of historic properties worthy of preservation. Being listed on the register provides recognition and assists in preserving the nation’s heritage, according to the Kansas State Historical Society.
The register is administered by the National Park Service.
The Schaeffler House will benefit from being listed on the national register for several reasons:
?recognition that the property is of significance to the nation, state or community;
consideration for federal or federally assisted projects;
qualification for federal assistance for historic preservation when funds are available.
Last spring,Wiebe began working on the application. After writing a detailed, 10-page description of the house, built by William F. and Ida G. Schaeffler, Wiebe submitted the information to KSHS for review in August.
In a letter to Wiebe dated Jan. 9, Richard Pankratz, director of the Historic Preservation Office, indicated the nomination would be approved. But acceptance was not official until the KSHS board met in Topeka last week.
“There’s also the option for qualifying for some funding for rehabilitation of the building,” Wiebe said. “That’s one of the values of being on the national register.”
As owner of the building, the city will have the option of looking at grants to make renovations on the building, within the guidelines established by the national register.
During the months prior to the approval, the priority concern was the roof of the Schaeffler House, Wiebe said.
Last year, the original slate roof was replaced with composition shingles but will now be eligible for grant money to restore the roof with slate.
Since confirmation of the house’s acceptance, Garrett said he has begun working on a grant application for $150,000 for various repairs on the structure.
Wiebe said the listing complements the Adobe House, which is also on the National Register.
“What we’re trying to accomplish is fill in the more modern history of Hillsboro,” Wiebe said.
“I would say there’s also other properties in Hillsboro being talked about putting on the register, but none have progressed to the writing stage.”
With the Schaeffler House now approved, the Historical Society’s long-range objectives for the future of the structure, Wiebe said, is “to do a good job with what we’ve got as far as our public and educational programs, and let’s particularly focus on anything inside the Schaeffler House.”