With the help of a team of volunteers, the Fenton History Center is readying the Hall House as the new home for its library and research materials, among other items.
Beginning on Tuesday, volunteers from the community began working with the employees of the Fenton History Center to transfer books from the library at the Fenton mansion. The process, which was scheduled to take two days, was begun in anticipation of having the Hall House Research Center in operating order by Feb. 4.
"We had a donation, a grant from Sen. Cathy Young's office that was restricted for rural museums, which we used to buy this building," said Joni Blackman, director of the Fenton History Center. "Between that and our other funding sources, we're finally getting to do what we've always wanted to do. This building will be used for the research center as well as storage, among other things. A lot of the work that currently happens in the Fenton mansion will be done in this building in the future. It will be the office of the textile curator, the exhibit people, and our collections, too. There's a lot of history in this area and as far as historical societies go, we're pretty large. This is exciting for us, though. We needed more workspace and this will allow the mansion to have more exhibits, teach more and do a lot more on the education front."
According to Blackman, there aren't many houses of the Fenton design and age that are available for people to actually explore.
In the future, she says that the additional space in the Fenton mansion will be used to rearrange the layout of the building and make it more accessible for tour groups. There are plans to move the entrance of the mansion to the area that the library used to occupy, build a handicap accessible restroom and even add an orientation center to provide more information about the history of Jamestown.
"We're getting to be kind of unique, and we're trying to build this into a destination attraction," said Blackman. "We want people to be able to spend three or four hours here when they visit, giving them the opportunity to learn more about the city and its history."
The Fenton History Center is located at 67 Washington St. and the Hall House can be accessed from the parking lot of the Fenton mansion or the driveway, located on Forest Avenue. For more information about the center, call 664-6256.