A $500,000 New York State Historic Preservation grant was awarded to the Everson Museum to restore the Gustav Stickley House in Syracuse. Those involved with the restoration are hoping it will attract fans of the Arts and Crafts Movement to the area.
On Christmas Eve 1901, a fire broke out in the brand-new Queen Anne style home that furniture maker Gustav Stickley purchased for his family. It gutted the interior from the roof down to the first floor. Stickley had to redesign the inside of his house and he did it in the same style as the furnishings he had been building.
It would become known as the first craftsman interior in the United States, making Syracuse a center for the American Arts and Crafts Movement.
Now with the help of the state grant, the Everson Museum will begin the process of preserving the home. Steven Kern is the executive director of the Everson Museum. He says response to news of the restoration has come in from across the country.
"We're not creating an artificial draw. Arts and Crafts has a tremendous following from coast to coast," said Kern. "We have something that is absolutely unique nationally. We've also had tremendous interest expressed from Britain, Italy, and Belgium."
Kern remains positive even when some people express concern about taxpayer dollars going into the project at a time when the state budget is tight.
"Would we kill a revenue stream? By investing in this house, that means we will have a revenue stream that will carry us through generations, it's not just telling a story, it's bringing people into our community where they then leave their dollars through hotels, restaurants, stores, participating in all the different things we have to offer here."
Kern says they have not determined when the Stickley House will be open to the public. But in the meantime, the Everson will have an exhibition on Stickley this summer. The Everson also received a $50,000 New York State Council on the Arts grant to help fund that exhibit.