Feb 21, 2023

Historical Society benefits from Dane G. Hansen Grant

Posted Feb 21, 2023 11:29 AM

News release

The Ellis County Historical Society extends our gratitude to The Heartland Community Foundation for its fall grant cycle award of $2,935. These funds from the Dane G. Hansen Community Grant Fund paid for the feasibility study done by Commercial Builders for Phase 2 renovations to the Presbyterian red brick building in Hays.

Following positive public influence, the ECHS Board of Directors voted in May of 2022 to save the Brick Church. Originally built in 1926 as a Presbyterian Church, it has housed the Ellis County Historical Society since 1971.

Phase 1 was fueled by a generous anonymous donation to remodel the basement for staff offices, store space and archives. With great excitement we moved back into our home space on November 1, 2022. But our fight to save the Brick Church continues.

Plans for Phase 2 were announced at the annual meeting on January 30. Phase 2 addresses the infrastructure of the building. It will encompass renovation of the kitchen area, the basement bathroom to unisex handicap-accessible, excavating the south lawn for handicap parking, and repairing cracked and leaking mortar joints in the exterior brick walls.

Approximately 70% of the cost of Phase 2 will be an investment in a state-of-the-art heating and air system with humidity controls that will protect our treasure for future generations to enjoy. We need reliable systems to eliminate excess humidity and control temperatures so we will never again lose precious artifacts to mold.

The total cost of Phase 2 is $850,000. We are actively searching and applying for grants to help with these costs. We believe the best we can hope for is about 70% of the cost to be paid for by various grants. Unfortunately, paying for infrastructure is not glamorous. But it is necessary to build the foundation as a solid support for our past so it will serve us long into the future. We will need at least $255,000 from our communities to accomplish our goals for Phase 2. 

We heard you … and we listened! Brick by brick we will lead you in saving the church which has been an anchor on South Main Street.

The ECHS Board of Directors is not only asking others to fund this renovation. We are asking it of ourselves. Collectively, ECHS board members have already personally donated almost $31,000 towards Phase 2 with 100% participation. We are committed to this project, and we are supporting it with our time, our talent, and our treasure. 

Can you help us with your treasure? A donation of any amount will truly be appreciated. Donations may be sent to: 100 W 7th St, Hays, KS 67601.