A historic farmhouse in Douglas County, KS might be the recipient of a $163,000 grant for rehabilitation that involves termite inspection, termite control and extermination, and structural restoration. The grant is coming from the Heritage Conservation Council of the county, which is a special council that was put together only last year.
The Heritage Conservation Council came to be when the Douglas County officials decided to set aside $350,000 to be used for the preservation of historic, natural, or cultural resources and sites in the area. The Council is supposed to decide which applicants are most deserving of being granted a portion of the funds.
Competition is tight among applicants, as heritage preservation and rehabilitation funding is not really given a great deal of attention at the moment: a lot of historic sites and structures are actually crumbling or gradually falling into disrepair due to the lack of finances to support their care and upkeep. The story of a historic building just about to collapse to the ground due to lack of proper termite control, for example, is a common one already. And with the recent recession seeing most possible sources of funds dry up, many places are in bleak state indeed.
The farmhouse being suggested as the recipient of nearly half of the total amount allocated by the city to the heritage project is called the Robert Hall Pearson Farmhouse. The man who had the farmhouse built and who gave his name to the structure is known to have been at the 1856 Battle of Black Jack, where he fought alongside the famous historical figure John Brown. The house itself is located very near the place of the battle that began the entire Civil War of the United States, giving it quite a prestigious status.
The farmhouse is actually being managed by a heritage and preservation group, the Black Jack Battlefield Trust. While the Trust has attempted to restore and protect the structure from the many dangers that threaten structures of this provenance, it has admitted that the funds are simply not sufficient to cover all aspects of preservation. It submitted a report in the application for the heritage grant that underlined in particular the costs and need for proper termite control for the farmhouse, which was already in grave danger of collapse due to the depredations of the insects. The Heritage Conservation Council’s members have sounded off approval for the application and observers say that it is very likely that the recommendation shall go through, making the Robert Hall Pearson Farmhouse the first of the 18 applicants to be granted financial assistance by the county through the recommendations of the committee. There have yet to be final statements, however, as to who gets how much.