CANE HILL -- Plans to eventually restore the historic John and Alice Edmiston House in Cane Hill could fit into a vision for the community that may include a hospitality and food component.
Historic Cane Hill Inc., will use a $55,000 historical preservation grant to stabilize and repair the first floor joists and foundation piers of the John and Alice Edmiston House.
This is phase one of a multi-phase project to restore the 1896 home of John Edmiston and his wife, Alice Lee Lacey Edmiston, according to Vanessa McKuin, executive director for Historic Cane Hill.
The grant was recently announced by the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program for its fiscal year 2022 Historic Preservation Restoration grants. In all, the program is awarding $818,212 for projects in 19 counties for the 2022 cycle.
The grants are made possible by the real estate transfer tax.
"This is not the super exciting work of restoration, but it is essential," McKuin said.
The second phase will be the roof and future phases will be exterior and interior historic restoration.
The long-term plans for the house are to be determined, but McKuin said the house probably will provide some form of overnight accommodations.
John Edmiston was the eldest son of Zeb Edmiston, patriarch of one of Cane Hill's most prosperous Victorian-era families. Zeb managed several businesses in Cane Hill, along with his three sons John, James and David.
John built his house with his wife, Alice Lee Lacey, in the Queen Anne style with Eastlake influences. He ran the Edmiston Brothers General Merchandise Store with his older brother, James, and also served as vice president of the Bank of Cane Hill and president of Cane Hill Canning and Evaporating Co., with apples as the primary product.
John retired in 1908, due to health reasons, and moved to Washington D.C., for care. He died in 1916.
McKuin said no one lives in the John Edmiston house. In the past, it has been used as a director's home and as the first office for Historic Cane Hill Inc.
Along with the grant, Historic Cane Hill also is kicking off strategic planning meetings with several consultants to discuss a vision for the organization and the community.
McKuin said the board of directors has been discussing a "big picture vision" and goals for Historic Cane Hill. The strategic planning sessions will allow the organization to discuss these goals more specifically.
Subjects of the meetings will include physical space, food and hospitality, branding, fundraising and an arts and cultural program, mainly focused on pottery.
Historic Cane Hill is using grants from the Walton Family Foundation and Amy and Tim Leach Charitable Fund for the consultants: Velocity Group, Ecological Design Group, Inc., Wilde Retreats, Archetype, Verdant Studio and Umma Coach.
"We want to do a deep dive and make recommendations on what we want to acheive," McKuin said.
Historic Cane Hill is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to the historic preservation of Washington County, primarily to western Washington County and the area and communities around Cane Hill.
Historic Cane Hill Website