State grant will enable Schaeffler House repairs


The Wm. F. Schaeffler House will benefit from a $84,000 grant for repairs.

The Hillsboro Museums has received a long-awaited grant that will enable it to repair the chimneys and roof of the historic William F. and Ida G. Schaeffler House at the corner of Grand and Jefferson.

The project will cost $105,327. The $84,261 grant is from the Heritage Trust Fund of the Cultural Heritage Division of the Kansas State Historical Society.

The city of Hillsboro will pick up the remaining $21,066 as a contingency fund, according to Stan Harder, museums director.

Writing the grant was a team effort, Harder said, and he is grateful to all who wrote letters of support.

?This is a project we have long hoped we could do,? he said. ?The Schaeffler House has the original roofing material that was used in 1909 when the house was built. Over the last 100 years, it has deteriorated and is badly in need of repair.?

Because the house is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Harder said ?great care? must be given to keep all the repairs and replacements accurate to the original material and architecture of the house.

Harder said the roof slates will be replaced with the same kind of slate that was used originally.

He said the grant will cover repairs to the two chimneys and water damage on the interior of the house as well.

The city had previously applied for grant assistance for the project at least four times, but was unsuccessful.

Mayor Delores Dalke said grant assistance was required for the repairs to occur.

?Without a grant we just didn?t see how we could afford to use local taxpayer money to replace the roof,? Dalke said.

?Our money for the city is getting shorter and shorter every year with the so-called recession going on,? she added. ?We just don?t have the money we used to have as money from the state is being cut back.

?It?s getting harder and harder to do these kinds of projects.?

She said it was suggested that the city try to take the house off the National Register so asphalt shingles could be used on the roof, but Dalke said that idea seemed to be going backward.

?That house has become one of our city?s tourist attractions,? she said. ?It?s kind of what we hang our hat on as far as talking about what the people who started our business community in Hillsboro.

?We?ve started to use that house in so many ways. It?s become such a part of our community.?

Work on the project will start later this year with bids expected to accepted in January 2010. Harder said he hoped the project would be finished by end of August 2010.

Hillsboro residents will be celebrating the centennial of the Schaeffler House at the end of next month. The city is also celebrating its 125th anniversary at the same time.

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