Gordon Hall receives substantial grant for mansion restoration

The front of the historic Gordon Hall, 8341 Island Lake Rd. in Dexter, on Dec. 18 following the removal of most of the Christmas decorations.

The Dexter Area Historical Society recently received a $400,000 grant to support rehabilitation of Judge Samuel Dexter’s historic home on Island Lake and Dexter-Pinckney Road.

The money was issued by the Jeffris Family Foundation of Janesville, Wisconsin.

The Jeffris Family Foundation was established in 1979 by Bruce and Eleanor Jeffris, and their son Tom. Bruce Jeffris was born of a pioneer family that immigrated to Wisconsin from Kentucky in the 1840’s.

This grant brings the DAHS Gordon Hall team and its grant writers a significant step closer to realizing the dream of restoring Judge Dexter’s home, after it had been converted into faculty apartments by the University of Michigan many years ago.

“After its rehabilitation is complete, Gordon Hall will become a self-sustaining community resource, inviting community use while maintaining a historic setting and feel,” said DAHS spokesperson Caryle Burke. “It is estimated that complete rehabilitation of the house and reconstruction of the historic service wing will require $2.5 to $3 Million dollars.”

The Jeffris Family Foundation grants comes on the heels of another $75,000 grant received by the society earlier in the year.

“The grant from the Jeffris Family Foundation, particularly when combined with a grant of $75,000 that was awarded in May 2015 by the Michigan State Housing Development Authority’s State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO), gives a strong start to the Dexter Area Historical Society’s planned fundraising effort supporting the rehabilitation and reconstruction project,” Burke said.

Society officials hope to have Gordon Hall back to a more historic physical state by 2020, with the house serving as a space for educational opportunities, events such as weddings and conferences, and other community activities.

If you have news that you would like us to cover, send an email to Content and Community Manager Sean Dalton at seandalton@welovedexter.com.

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