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Work on historic Proctor House progressing


April 01, 2009
The historic Proctor House in Marengo, owned by the Crawford County Historical and Genealogy Society, has been getting a much-needed facelift the last couple of weeks.

The house, a two-story structure, and its adjoining seven acres were given to the society in 2004 by the Town of Marengo.

Proctor House, built in 1830 after William Proctor and Abasalom Wood married sisters, housed both families for several years. The house was built of clay bricks made on the site. In 1835, the house was used as a post office after Proctor was appointed postmaster. The location was then named Proctorville.

Wood died in 1843, and, after the post office was moved to Marengo in 1852, the dwelling was used by Proctor as a store. Proctor died in 1872 and the property was sold to William and Lula Byrd. It is believed the Byrds built the wooden additions on the Proctor House, one of which has been removed, and there are plans to remove the rear addition in the near future.

According to research by society member Evelyn Jackson, the Byrds sold the property to George and Anna Dean in 1919. Their son, Hershal Dean, took over the property when they died, and the Dean heirs sold the farm and buildings to the Town of Marengo for the development of an industrial park.

The Crawford County Historical and Genealogical Society has been working on the building since 2004 as funds become available. Society members reworked all the windows and doors themselves, reclaimed the old cemetery and have begun work on the landscaping and lawn. They plan to build a shelter house on the property and, when work is completed, welcome visitors and group tours to see the house and surrounding property.

"We scraped and tucked all the brick joints on the house, and the door and windows are now finished," society member Hugh Jackson said. "Now, they're spraying on the exterior paint. We're also working on the well, digging a pit for the pump and water lines. We've also been given the old Riceville Depot and, as soon as we can find someone to move it, we plan to bring it to the property and display it there. We have a lot of plans but could sure use more donations."

The cost of the exterior paint and labor was funded by a gift from the Community Foundation of Crawford County.

The group will also have its annual yard sale at Proctor House in July to help raise money and will take donations of items in June.

"We hope to get donations of good, clean, usable stuff for the yard sale," Evelyn Jackson said. "We'll have the yard sale, which will be a large one, on Fourth of July weekend. It will be a three-day sale. We'd like to thank the community for all their support and hope they will continue to support us. We really appreciate the help."

The society is looking for new members and encourages the community to become involved in preserving the county's history. They have meetings on the second Monday of each month at 6:30 p.m. in the media center at Crawford County Junior-Senior High School.

The group is now working at the old courthouse in English, getting the county historical archives ready to open to the public again this year after being closed for the winter. The center is staffed by society volunteers each year and will reopen today (Wednesday). The archives will be open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily but will be closed on Wednesdays.

For more information or to make donations, contact Huge Jackson at 347-2260 or Bobby Wiseman at 365-2892.

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