End of Year Fundraiser: Sustain the Swanton
November 15 - December 31 2023
Let us tell you about our preservation efforts at the Swanton House at 720 West Trinity in Decatur! It is one of the three structures we maintain that are located just below the Adair Dog Park. With a log cabin at its core, it is one of the oldest remaining structures in Decatur. The Swanton House was moved to this park in 1970 to ensure its preservation for Decatur and DeKalb well into the future.
As stewards of this house, we have maintained it since then. The Swanton House is opened for our annual school program – History Quest – where students experience living history inside the homes. This immersive program is always popular with Decatur and DeKalb school children and their teachers.
Early in the year, a massive tree smashed through the Swanton House’s roof causing extensive damage. Of course, we had insurance on the structure, but this uprooted tree presented an opportunity to see what else we could do to preserve this cornerstone piece of DeKalb’s history.
The roof was swiftly replaced and we also arranged for some special carpentry to restore the custom millwork on the second floor ceiling. Rain accumulation and ground saturation in this low-lying area can be problematic, so it was again time for mold remediation.
Inside, the walls and ceilings are either hand planed wood boards or old plaster, and have not been painted since it was moved over 50 years ago. New moisture came into the structure with the tree damage and the loose paint issue accelerated. It was clear we needed to repaint the entire house before History Quest. Afterwards, our painter said he had never done so much prep work in his entire life, especially the scraping. Finally, with all of this hard work accomplished, we came to terms with the fact that the HVAC unit was at the end of its lifespan. It was replaced with a new state-of-the-art unit, complete with an air scrubber to keep mold spores at bay. With some carpentry and cleaning added to the mix, the grand total for all of this work was $69,707.
With the smashed roof as the precipitating event, we acted swiftly to accomplish much work, but now we need your help! Not only to replenish our reserves, but also to help us keep the lights on and maintain the structure for future generations.
The average annual cost of maintaining the Swanton House, Biffle Cabin and Thomas Barber Cabin is $20,400. This includes landscaping, utilities (at commercial, not home prices), maintenance, and services such as pest, rodent and termite control.
Will you help us Sustain the Swanton?
You can donate by check, online, or over the phone.
Please make check out to DeKalb History Center
101 E Court Square
Decatur, GA 30030
404-373-1088 ext 1003