July 29, 2014

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Lorain Historical Society excited for future

LORAIN — The Lorain Historical Society is halfway to its $3 million fundraising goal.

The society’s Board of Trustees announced at the society’s annual dinner Monday that it has received pledges of $1 million for the Carnegie Library Restoration Campaign. The pledges come on the heels of the society receiving a $500,000 state taxpayer grant in April. The grant will be paid after the society raises $2.5 million.

The 10,000-square-foot library, formerly known as the Streator Building, is at 329 W. 10th St., in Streator Park which is named after industrialist, railroad developer and Ohio state Sen. Worthy Streator. It opened in 1903 and was one of 1,679 Carnegie libraries built in the U.S.

It closed in 1957 and was used to hold city equipment until about 2009. The society acquired it from the city and Lorain Port Authority last year.

The society will move its offices and exhibits from the Moore House Museum, 309 W. Fifth St., to the library this summer, said Barb Piscopo, society executive director. The Moore House is named after former Lorain Mayor Leonard Moore, whose family lived in the home until the 1980s.

The society moved into the Moore House in 1995. Piscopo said the library will have more room for exhibits, and the Moore House will remain as a historical early 20th century home.

Piscopo, hired last year, credited interest in the library for increasing the society’s membership. The society has 425 members with 60 new members this year and 106 new members last year.

“We’ve tried to reach out to the community,” Piscopo said. “We’ve really been aggressive in increasing our membership.”

Board President Ben Norton said he’s confident the society can reach its goal by 2018 despite the recession and economic decline which have made it harder for nonprofit groups like the society to raise money.

“There’s a lot of excitement,” he said. “There’s a real wow factor for people who go down and see the restoration.”

Contact Evan Goodenow at 329-7129 or egoodenow@chroniclet.com.

Carnegie Campaign

Restoration of the former Carnegie Library in Lorain began in January as part of a five-year $3 million fundraising campaign.

  • Renovation of the first floor will cost $550,000 and include new heating and cooling systems, a fire alarm system and interior and exterior improvements.
  • Second-floor restorations will cost $885,000 and include restoration of the original decor, installation of an elevator and a ramp for disabled people.
  • Exhibit design and furnishings for second-floor exhibits and permanent displays will cost $400,000.
  • Office equipment and technology for Lorain Historical Society offices and building will cost $165,000.
  • A $1 million sustaining fund for daily operating expenses is planned.

SOURCE: Lorain Historical Society