A Wendell museum is on the horizon! For a number of years, the Wendell Historical Society has pursued the goal of establishing a Wendell museum. Proponents believe that if the current generation does not create the museum, much history will be lost.
With that goal in mind, the historical society sponsored its first reverse raffle in 2016 to raise funds for the museum project. The now annual fundraiser has brought in more than $52,000. At the same time, possible museum locations were scouted in downtown Wendell.
In early 2019, historical society board member Paul White brokered a deal for the Town of Wendell to purchase the old Alex Wall house to serve as a museum. It was the only privately owned property on the block otherwise owned by the town that includes the Wendell Woman’s Club. After the town bought the house from Shelton and Rebecca Bridgers, the historical society was given a 20-year lease for $1 a year.
Renovations were necessary to bring the structure to code as a public building, including handicap accessibility. Architect Tony Johnson provided the building plans, and renovations are being handled by G&G Builders. Once renovations are complete, the building will be outfitted to function as a museum.
Opening is planned for late 2020.
Sid Baynes and Ray Hinnant are serving as museum co-directors and will be assisted by newly named museum board members, Neal Conoley, Chris Smith and Mary Jo Cashion, and volunteers who want to help keep Wendell’s history alive.