Kell House Museum to undergo renovations, still raising funds for full project

Local News

WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — The Kell House Museum is beginning some renovations to rehabilitate the building.

Repairing some of the brickwork is just one of the several changes that need to be made to the Kell House. With some of the money they need already in hand, officials are ready to get to work on the historic building.

In 2012, the Wichita County Heritage Society began a three-phase renovation project on the Kell House Museum.

Phase one consisted of work being done to the foundation of the building because of the drought. The next two phases are now combined and will consist of repairing the exterior and the interior of the building.

“There’s no reason to think that it can’t last another 100 years as long as it’s taken care of properly,” Wichita County Heritage Society Executive Director Delores Culley said.

With the society raising funds since 2013 for the second phase, it has taken longer than expected.

“Grants don’t happen overnight. Cycles don’t happen overnight. It’s been a long and tedious project to raise funds but we are ready to start. Hopefully, the scaffolding will go up by the end of April. And we’ll be able to get started,” Culley said.

Officials also said flooding as a result of a ruptured pipe from the winter storm caused a small delay.

“We had originally hoped we would be able to start the work on the house at the first of this year, 2021, and of course that kind of threw a wrench into it. That kind of slowed us down. It didn’t cause additional damage to the foundation or to what was something that already needed addressing,” Kell House Museum Site Director Nadine McKown said.

The cost of the project could cost up to almost $2 million depending on how much work will be done on the inside and close to $1 million is already raised.

With exterior work including replacing brick and refurbishing columns, officials hope to be open for the 4th of July and for Santa House.

“It’s got about 95% of the original furnishings in the house, that’s very very unique to a historic house. Wichita Falls is really blessed to have a historic marker like this,” Culley said.

“For Wichita Falls and Wichita County, it’s important that it stays here. That’s why the work needs to be done and so it’ll be here for the next several generations for the next 100 years,” McKown said.

Preserving history and keeping the story of the Kells alive as the Kell House gets some much-needed upgrades.

The Kell House is always in need of donations and volunteers.

Find out how to contribute here.

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