Museum To Tell Wendell’s Story
The historic Alex Wall House, former home of the longtime Wendell police chief, is the future site of Wendell’s museum.
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 almost $57,000. 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 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 were completed by G&G Builders.
The next major expense will be museum displays. The Museum Committee is working with local designer Craig Fitzpatrick to produce a museum we all can be proud of. Plans call for a timeline beginning with a description of the area that became Wendell and continue through its incorporation in 1903 to the present day. A series of vignette displays will highlight historical churches in the area, businesses, Wendell School, and outstanding individuals who are Wendell natives, among other areas of broad interest.
The Museum Committee is under the leadership of Neal Conoley. Other committee members are Sid Baynes, Ray Hinnant, Chris Smith and Mary Jo Cashion.