“The house is worth saving because it is a jewel in Madison County, like the Paramount,” said Parker. “It’s something that would have been a shame to lose. It’s one of those landmarks that is important and needed to be saved.”
From repairing water damage from a leaking roof (which the state replaced in 2012) to removing tract lighting to painting over camouflage walls to installing drywall to mudding, the Friends have worked tirelessly to create an experience.
“So many younger people don’t comprehend how people used to live,” said Arena. “I was working in here one day and some young women came in and asked me what this quilt frame was. I started to explain and then realized they didn’t even know what a quilt was.”
“This is a legacy to leave for future generations,” said Nancy Hulse, member. “It’s great to see all the kids on the buses and walking the trails. Now on a field trip, they will be able to walk through the house, too.”
“Part of our bylaws is to educate the public,” said Parker. “We are here to assist the naturalist, Steve Thompson, and help with the children’s programs. This house is not all we do; we also maintain all the gardens.”
Despite the progress the Friends have made on the house, they are not finished. One last bedroom, some outdoor repairs and restoration of the spring house remain on the to-do list. While they donate man-hours and talent, materials are costly and they are in need of donations.
Since the beginning of the organization in 2005, they have raised $23,000 and reinvested every cent into the park. Donations to the Friends stays within the park and designations for the Bronnenberg House are used specifically for that purpose.
Each week, Emma Bowen Meyer features a Madison County home. If you know of a home that should be showcased, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.