Mark Taylor
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Volunteers are breathing new life into the Edgerton Historical Society, city council members were told during their brief Oct. 13 meeting.
The historical society was founded in the mid-1990s, and worked in recent years to aquire a historic home and move it to a vacant lot next to the Community Hall for future use as a museum.
But the organization has not been as active in the past few years.
Mary Pritchard, the new president of the historical society, said the group has been reorganized with a new board of directors and is planning regular meetings.
The next historical society meeting is at 7 p.m. on Nov. 17 at the Community Hall. The meeting is open to anyone who has an interest in the history of Edgerton.
One of the historical society’s long time goals has been to convert the house next to the Community Hall into a museum to showcase the organization’s collection of artifacts.
The house itself is a piece of Edgerton history.
Originally located at 315 E. Martin St., the narrow, two-story “shotgun-style” structure was donated to the historical society by Donna Bratton, a lifelong Edgerton resident and retired Edgerton Elementary teacher.
Bratton’s family purchased the house in the 1940s and she lived there as a child.
She had heard stories from “oldtimers” that the house was built by the Frye family of Olathe for its matriarch, but said she couldn’t confirm it.
A researcher for the Johnson County Museums included the house in a study of historically significant structures several years ago and said it is consistent with the style of housing that was constructed for railroad workers at the turn of the century.
In 2007, a work crew from Lansing Correctional Facility spent several days helping to renovate the structure.
The prisoners replaced old plaster with sheet rock, installed insulation in the roof and built a wheelchair-accessible ramp.
The crew also installed siding over holes where two additions had been removed and incorporated rock from the house’s original foundation into a new front porch.