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Historic Everett Building to get facelift

By Sherry Koonce skoonce@news-journal.com
July 15, 2012 at 11 p.m.


One of Longview's most prolific landmarks will soon get a face-lift - the first of several restoration and remodeling projects planned for the 102-year-old building.

The Historic Everett Building, at 214 N. Fredonia St. in downtown Longview, is the latest recipient of the Façade Improvement Grant administered by One Hundred Acres of Heritage Main Street.

Kim Droege, Longview's Main Street Advisory Board chairwoman said the $35,000 grant is the twelfth awarded to help improve building facades in the city's downtown area.

"We have a huge passion, a huge heart for our downtown," Droege said.

Neina Kennedy, executive director of the Gregg County Historical Museum, which is housed in the building, said the grant, along with a 50 percent match portion, would pay for replacement of the building's 69 windows. Any overages will be paid with money previously raised by the Historical Society.

Though restorations were made to the building in 1984, repairs are once again needed, Kennedy said.

"Between then and now, nothing has been done to it except for a little patch here and paint there," Kennedy said.

Replacement of the building's many windows is imperative because of weather and sunlight that damaged glazing, and has already caused one window to fall in.

"I am running around with duct tape taping windows to frames," Kennedy said.

The Everett Building was initially built in 1910 at the northeast corner of Fredonia and the alley named Bank Street. There, the two-story, raised basement structure, opened as Citizen's National Bank. Through the years, other tenants occupied space in the Everett, including a barber shop, drug store and gallery.

Today, it still stands at the same location, a dual testament to bygone days.

'Luckily for us, being the tenants, our mission is preservation, it our responsibility to preserve, it is part of our own story," Kennedy said.

In 1979, Ann Lacy Crain purchased the building and donated it to The Gregg County Historical Foundation to display local artifacts, documents and photographs.

After extensive restoration, the building was ready to house the Gregg County Historical Museum.

Part of the museum experience is to marvel at the building itself.

"It still has its original tin ceilings. The fact that this building is 100 years old make people really appreciate it," Kennedy said.

Keeping it up is a never-ending job, and one that can be expensive.

In addition to the window and air conditioner project, the building is slated for further restorations.

The building needs repairs to the exterior bricks and mortar and ironwork, especially where water has infiltrated the building.

The adjacent education center is to be upgraded with new bathrooms and a catering kitchen .

Kennedy said work on the windows will begin in the very near future, and should be completed in October.

To fund the remaining projects, the museum will launch an upcoming capital campaign.

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