Finney House in Clintonville donated
By Bert Lehman
The Clintonville Area Historical Society recognized Ann Fuge for her donation of a building to the historical society.
The recognition took place prior to the historical society’s meeting on Thursday, April 28. The meeting took place in the building Fuge donated to the historical society. The announcement about the donation took place on April 30, 2015.
Marilyn Berkvam, president of the Clintonville Area Historical Society, presented Fuge with a plaque that read, “Thank you for the wonderful gift of the Finney house. A wish come true.”
“This house is where it belongs now and I know you will take really good care of it and it will be a wonderful landmark in our community, making the past the future,” Fuge said after receiving the plaque.
She also told historical society members to have fun with the building.
“I hope you enjoy it and I know you will,” Fuge said. “Thank you for creating this partnership because we need good partnerships in our community and you guys lead the way.”
Fuge was also a guest speaker later in the program. She told members about her and her husband buying the property and what was done to the property afterwards.
“We walked into this door onto the deep burgundy carpeting that had been in the building since God only knows when, and it went squish, squish, squish,” Fuge said.
She said the building was empty and damp.
Fuge said the property was bought from the city of Clintonville in 1984.
She said an offer was made to the city because she had heard that there was disagreement among city council members about what to do with the property. She said she heard there was discussion about razing the building and building low-cost housing on the property.
After taking possession of the property, Fuge said as much as possible was recycled.
“We changed the front windows for display purposes,” Fuge said. “The other windows are as we bought them, cracks and all.”
She added that the inside of the building was opened up for commercial purposes.
Initially engineers expressed concern about the strength and stability of the building for bearing the weight of display units, product and people.
“Then they went downstairs and discovered solid, not composite, 12 by 12 beams that support this building,” Fuge said.
On May 25, 1985 Fuge’s gift shop business opened for the first time. Honey Creek Gallery was open until Fuge retired in December 2014 and closed the business.
The Clintonville Area Historical Society hasn’t made definitive plans yet as to how to use the building.