Livingston County Preservation Society News

By Kirsten Mouton

The goal of the Livingston County Preservation Society (LCPS) is to preserve our local history. This includes salvaging locally significant buildings before they have to be torn down. After bemoaning the loss of so many fabulous buildings like the Ben Bolt, Leeper Hotel, and the Ritz, we are stepping up to do something about it. This takes guts, money (loads of it), willpower, and a vision of how things could be. We believe our past is worth preserving and sharing with future generations. This is something we can all get behind!

Our first building project is the once beautiful Victorian home at Polk and Locust Streets. It was built in 1891 by Dr. W. W. Edgerton, a doctor, co-founder of Citizens Bank, and a one-time Mayor of Chillicothe. Edgerton bought several lots from the Bryan family who used to own the entire block from Polk to JFK (which was Ninth Street back then). Edgerton built his grand house on a corner lot and built several others in the area as well.

LCPS is in the process of buying Edgerton’s Victorian home and will restore it to its former glory. Our plan is to share it as a rentable space like an Airbnb. The décor will highlight past owners and the history of the area. It will be available to rent for a group and may even be open for tours from time to time. We are currently seeking donations for this property. (See our website at the end of this column.)

Our county has a lot of older homes and sometimes they require a little extra care and maintenance. Working on the Edgerton home is the perfect opportunity to offer workshops to homeowners on how to do things right. Fixing old windows, repairing porches, how to caulk, and removing siding are just some of the hands-on training ideas we have discussed. Stay tuned for chances to help out and learn something along the way.

To keep our community's history alive, LCPS created the Chillicothe Hall of Fame. In 2018 we seeded the project with three inductees: Charles Adams, Olive Rambo Cook, and Frank Bench. Our goal is to add one person each year. In 2019, Maurice Dorney was added. Last year we selected R. Warren Roberts, a local architect, as the inductee. The idea was to have a mobile exhibit that could reside somewhere for a week or a month. When not travelling, the exhibit pieces are on display at the Sliced Bread Innovation Center at 100 Elm Street. Of course covid put a bit of a wrench in things, but before long we will be back to a new normal. Let us know if you are interested in hosting the exhibit.

If you are want to know more about what we are doing in your community, you can go to our website (https://livcopreservation.weebly.com/) and see many of our ideas for future projects. We also have a Facebook page you can check out and interact with us: https://www.facebook.com/LivCoPreservation. Be sure to sign up for our newsletter too.