The Stephenville Historical House Museum had enormous challenges last year, including a devastating fire at the Berry Cottage, circa 1869, and the Oxford House that has been undergoing a complete makeover including exterior repainting. It also suffered storm damage in the early spring storms with repairs related to that ongoing.

On Tuesday, Kate Barton, president of the museum’s board of directors, delivered the group’s annual report to the Stephenville City Council.

Putting last year in review she cited the above challenges but also pointed to positives such as, “7,500 visitors to the museum, 2,993 of board of directors volunteer hours and the very successful Sundown on the Square [SOTS] event.”

Barton also pointed out that these were no small accomplishments as the board faced “Approximately $34,000 for replacement of the Chapel, Carriage House and office roofs, and a final invoice for the Berry rebuild estimated at $60,000 in addition to approximately $40,000 for school house restoration earmarked with a SOTS donation.”

Looking forward, Barton said that the board’s project goals include completing reconstruction work on the Berry Cottage with a reopen and tour-able home and research center in the fourth quarter of 2016.

Other goals Barton mentioned include beginning and completion of significant restoration of the Center Grove School House, finishing the aforementioned roof work, completion of interior signage in cabins, and the documentation and display of the history of the museum office building.

Barton pointed to perhaps the most visible and ambitious effort of the year other than the Berry House fire-restoration is the completion of the Oxford House exterior paint work that is nearly finished.

“We’ve been asked about the choices of colors on the Oxford House and they were chosen as representative of houses of that era,” she pointed out.

She added that upcoming events in 2016 include the Native and Heirloom Plant Fair will take place this Saturday, Camp Pioneer [for kids] on June 6–9, the Summer Storytelling Series on June 25, July 23 and August 27, the Oxford House Motorcycle Run on Sept. 24, the Bygone Days/Sundown on the Square celebrations on Oct. 6 and the Spirits of Erath County Walk on Oct. 30.