The New Year is off to a robust start for the Dexter Area Historical Society and Gordon Hall. The DAHS Challenge Grant received a matching donation of $15,000 from several Gordon Hall supporters at the beginning of December, and by the end of the year, a total of $31,332 in donations was received thanks in part to a successful Christmas at the Mansion last month.
“The amount is a wonderful indication of the generosity and commitment of the folks who love the Historical Society,” said Caryl Burke, DAHS spokesperson. “It will be applied to the work to rehabilitate the exterior of Gordon Hall, which will begin this spring.”
The goal is to rehabilitate Gordon Hall so that it matches the way it looked in 1860, both inside and outside.
“We were fortunate to receive a grant from the Michigan State Historic Preservation Office and the Michigan State Housing Development Authority to restore the exterior of Gordon Hall,” said Burke. “We are working with HopkinsBurns Design Studio, who are directing and overseeing the work.”
Gordon Hall and the Dexter Area Museum drew lots of visitors in December. The Historical Society offered Christmas at the Mansion, which Burke says was a big success.
“We didn’t count, but hundreds of people came up to enjoy the antique toys, a visit with Santa, crafts, and a chance to see Gordon Hall decked out in its Christmas finery,” said Burke, who added that many of the visitors were new to Dexter and had never been to Gordon Hall. “Many were families with small children who were drawn by Santa and the crafts.”
Several local collectors provided toys for the Antique Toys exhibit. For the first time, the second floor was used for crafts because there wasn’t enough room on the first floor.
“It was often so crowded up there they had a hard time getting up and down the stairs,” said Burke.
The Historical Society also enjoyed success with a tea time, and a Heritage Guild Christmas Bazaar and Bake Sale was held at the Dexter Area Museum.
One of the events coming up at Gordon Hall this year will be in the summer-the celebration of the 175th anniversary of the arrival of the railroad in 1841, which is said to have put Dexter on the map.