Friday, March 24, 2000

'History House' honors legacy

Enquirer contributor

        LOVELAND — Many acquaintances of Loveland historian and noted gardener JoAnn Richardson still are not aware that she died of ovarian cancer in January 1999.

        “One of her main concentrations was herbs,” says Jenny Shives, curator of the Greater Loveland Historical Society Museum. “She did extensive presentations. We got a call just last week asking for her. It happens every couple of months.”

Breaking ground
        Just as Ms. Richardson still lives in the minds of many, her legacy as a local historian will live on in the minds of Loveland residents when the JoAnn Richardson History House becomes reality.

        Groundbreaking ceremonies for the addition to the museum grounds at 201 Riverside are scheduled for 11 a.m. Saturday. Mayor Donna Lajcak will present an enlarged copy of the check for $25,000 that is the city's contribution to the fund-raising effort; and charter sponsors — a group of about 40 members, Mrs. Shives said — will be recognized. The project's architect, Dennis Malone of Malone and Wilcox, also will attend.

        The museum also was selling raffle tickets for one of two gold shovels to be used in the ceremonies to raise even more funds for the project, which is expected to cost $150,000, Mrs. Shives said. The museum, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, already has raised $125,000.

Meetings and storage
        The History House will be built by LaRoy Homes Inc. on a site that already features the 200-year-old Rich Log Cabin and the Bishop Coleman Gazebo.

        Some of its rooms will be available for rent by community groups; and the History House also will serve as a location for programs, workshops and meetings, and provide storage space for the museum's expanding collections.

        “We have so many old photographs,” said Mrs. Shives, 40, a Loveland native who is pursuing her master's degree at the University of Cincinnati and teaches art history at Xavier University.

        “We also have a small pamphlet that we published of local buildings that have been destroyed. When people see that, they are heartsick. Hopefully, keeping them aware of what we've lost will help make them more supportive of keeping what we still have. At least we have a few buildings left.”

Preservation efforts
        “It's a shame it didn't happen in the 1970s. Now, we try to work with contractors to at least keep the farmhouses when they're breaking up farms.”

        Mrs. Shives credits a wide range of support for the success of the fund-raising effort, from museum members, civic organizations and the city's $25,000.


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