Save Our Seiberling

05/26/2016

The Howard County Historical Society is celebrating its 100th year in 2016 and has grown stronger with each year. But, after more than a century, Kokomo's grand Seiberling Mansion is showing its age. A recent assessment funded by Indiana Landmarks and conducted by RATIO Architects, a leading architectural preservation firm, highlighted the deteriorating condition of the structure's slate roof. On May 26th, the society revealed its centennial project: a campaign to preserve the mansion for another hundred years by installing a new slate roof.

"Save Our Seiberling: The Next Hundred Years" is the theme of the campaign, which is co-chaired by Steve Daily, retired chancellor of Ivy Tech Community College and former mayor of Kokomo, and Diana Tenbrook, Vice President for Marketing at Solidarity Community Federal Credit Union. Daily said the fundraising goal has been set at $1,000,000 and said, "I've had a chance to see the Seiberling mansion from the point of view of education, government, and economic development. I know how important it is to the community, not just as a piece of our special history but as a point of community pride. Putting a new roof on the mansion is one way we can bring people together and maintain a valuable connection with our history."

Seiberling Mansion in Kokomo is one of the state's truly magnificent mansions. As an icon of the Indiana gas boom era, it represents a burst of innovation and development that completely altered the future of Howard County. The mansion is listed on the National Register of Historic Places in recognition of its historical and architectural importance. As the home of the Howard County Museum, it is the primary vehicle through which the historical society tells the story of the county's remarkable history. It provides important educational opportunities for students, learning and entertainment opportunities for all ages, and is one of the community's most significant tourist attractions. Executive Director Dave Broman noted that, "Our responsibility as stewards of the mansion and what it means to Howard County is to preserve the house in as close to original condition as possible." (photo right: co-chair Steve Daily announcing the fundraising campaign. Photo courtesy of Kelly Lafferty Gerber and Kokomo Tribune)

In announcing the project and campaign, Broman spoke about the passing of long-time supporter Beth Notaro. Beth's family designated the historical society as a recipient of memorial gifts at the time of her funeral. The historical society's board of trustees decided at that time to set those gifts aside for the mansion roof replacement, in the belief that its long-term preservation would recognize her love for the mansion.

Hilda Burns, President of the Community Foundation of Howard County, was also present at the kick-off and announced that the foundation will provide a dollar-for-dollar match for the first $50,000 donated as part of the community campaign.

HCHS board president Judy Brown commented, "Since moving here in 1975, I've seen the Seiberling as an important part of the community. I have sought reasons to spend time in the mansion and enjoy the atmosphere whenever possible. Now as President of the Board of Trustees I'm excited about this effort to preserve the Seiberling for the enjoyment of generations to come."

Click here to donate now and join the team to save the Seiberling!

Link: Drone video (on YouTube) of the mansion's slate roof