Tom Fyffe, director of museum operations at the Wescott House, talks about how they’ll use the $15,000 grant to repair the sleeping porch that he’s standing in and the pergola in the background Thursday. BILL LACKEY/STAFF

Historic Springfield house gets $15,000 from nonprofit group

The Westcott House Foundation was one of seven Ohio institutions to be awarded grants by the Ohio History Fund this month, receiving $15,000.

The foundation plans on using the money on a series of renovations to the historic Springfield property known as the Westcott House, which was built in 1908 for prominent businessman Burton J. Westcott and designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.

Renovations will include repairs to the house’s sleeping porches and pergola. The project aims to preserve and continue to make accessible original structures on the house to the public, according to Executive Director Marta Wojcik.

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“This is a significant structure and we make it accessible to the public throughout the year,” she said. “People come from all over the country to tour the house, so we want to keep it in its best shape.”

The foundation has been making ongoing renovations to the house since it purchased the property in 2001. The house went through a full restoration process that was completed in 2005, and it opened up as a museum in October of that year.

Museum staff first heard about the Ohio History Fund a few years back and applied for a grant of $17,000 for this year, according to Director of Museum Operations Tom Fyffe. They were awarded $15,000.

“We were really fortunate because not too many people can get it, especially that much,” he said. “It’s a godsend with everything we are trying to do.”

The Ohio History Fund was created in 2012 by the Ohio History Connection as a way to contribute to history projects throughout the state. It is funded entirely by Ohio taxpayers’ voluntary contributions, according to the Connection’s Public Relations Manager Emmy Beach.

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Since 2013, the fund has presented 52 grants totaling more than half a million dollars to organizations across the state, awarding $74,000 in grants this year alone.

“The Ohio History Fund allows us to preserve and share Ohio stories by supporting local projects in communities throughout the state,” said Burt Logan, executive director & CEO of the Ohio History Connection. “This important work by local history organizations strengthens our understanding of the past, leads us to a better future and ensures Ohio’s stories are told for years to come.”

The Westcott House receives most of its funding from donations, membership drives, tours and facility rentals according to staff, who say that ongoing renovations are a large expense that can take up 20 percent of the budget. Staff members say grants like this help, and they are grateful for receiving the award.

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