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Fundraiser aims to restore historic Alvin mansion

November 7, 2018

An effort is underway to raise $25,000 toward the restoration of Alvin’s historic Marguerite Rogers House.

“A total of $12,000 has been reached in commitments, and we netted $3,200 toward the project from our attic and closet sale last month,” said Lynn Shigekawa of Friendswood, who is coordinating the capital campaign as a project of the Alvin Museum Society.

Alvin residents Ruth and Nolan Ryan, the baseball Hall of Famer, kicked off the “Save Our House” campaign with a donation, Shigekawa said.

The museum board voted to use $25,000 of its permanent maintenance fund to secure a contract for a $50,000 restoration and painting of the home, which is at 113 E. Dumble St. The fundraiser aims to replenish the permanent fund for the amount that was withdrawn.

The city of Alvin is providing $25,000 for the project because the history museum qualifies for hotel/motel tax money support under state law.

More than 100 years of wear, storms, moisture, insects and time have resulted in serious deterioration of the 1909 house, which was originally described as “the Chinese Castle” because of its roof turrets and the ornate decorations, Shigekawa said.

“We studied multiple bids for the work,” she said.

The scope of work includes: insulation, leveling, removal and replacement of rotted wood, termite treatment, roof turret repairs and the work on decorative accents.

Society members researched Victoria-era paint colors and met with the restoration contractor and designer to choose an authentic four-color paint array for the home’s exterior. Painting will be done as weather permits.

A history of the home is told in a 2017 book, “Through the Storms: The John G. Slover Diary” by historian Glenn Starkey, who serves on Alvin City Council.

The book details how Civil War veteran John Greenleaf Slover purchased the land for $120 and began constructing the home with salvaged wood. He used a foot-pedaled jigsaw to cut out the decorative wooden details, which are on display at the Rogers house.

The museum society uses the house for special events and for ongoing, guided, historical and educational tours for children and adults.

In addition to the Ryans’ contribution, the following board members and spouses made gifts to the campaign: Lynn and Don Shigekawa, Barbara and Butch Passmore, JoDell and Tom Stansel, Katheryn and Tom Mattes, and Miss Bobbie Case.

Mike Hoskins with Texas Advantage Community Bank kicked off the local business gifts with a pledge of $1,000.

Bunky and Son Construction LLC also pledged $1,000.

“Your pledge of $1,000 or more may be divided into two payments, with one half made in 2018 and the other half made in 2019,” she said.

For more information about the fundraising drive, contact the Alvin Museum Society at 281-331-4469, email alvinms@att.net or visit the museum at 300 W. Sealy between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays. For more about the museum and historical society, visit http://www.alvinmuseum.org.

Don Maines is a freelance writer who can be reached at donmaines@att.net

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