The Lycoming County Visitors Bureau announced on June 17 that the Rowley House Museum was awarded $50,000 for immediate repairs to its deteriorating slate roof. This is in addition to the $20,000 already committed by the Bureau through two annual Travel and Tourism grants. Another $50,000 will be provided if the house museum's owner, Preservation Williamsport, raises the remaining funds needed to complete the roof replacement project. The project is estimated to cost approximately $221,000 and will be completed in several phases.
The Rowley House, at 707 West Fourth Street, was completed in 1888. It stands in the heart of Williamsport's National Historic District and is the only Victorian mansion open to tourists on a regular basis. Without the roof replacement, the entire museum would fall into disrepair. Without the Visitors Bureau's grant and financial support from other organizations and private donors, the Rowley House Museum could not endure.
Historic preservation is not inexpensive! Time, natural elements and neglect take their toll on all historic structures. Williamsport is blessed to have one of the largest Victorian era housing and commercial districts in the country. The city is also blessed to have an organization, Preservation Williamsport (PW), with over 200 members who truly care about preserving our architectural heritage and making the greater Williamsport area an attractive tourist destination.
Preservation Williamsport's Board of Directors is grateful to the Visitors Bureau's Operating Committee for demonstrably supporting PW's mission of historic preservation with this challenge grant. The challenge, obviously, is to raise the additional $100,000 needed to complete the roof project by December 31, 2016. PW has already set its fund-raising efforts in motion. One of those efforts is "A Gatsby Affair" bootlegger-era lawn party in the Historic District. Save the date; it is on Saturday, September 28 and tickets will be available through the ticket office at the Community Arts Center.
Oscar W. Knade
Submitted by Virtual Newsroom