Kell House looking to city for help funding renovation

Kell House Dining Room Table
Kell House Dining Room Table
Kell House Master Bedroom
Kell House Master Bedroom

WICHITA FALLS, TX (KAUZ) - The Kell House has been a staple in Wichita Falls for nearly a century.

Now the museum is asking the city to help them make sure it stands another 100 years.

On Tuesday, city council will consider spending $100,000 of 4B money on a renovation project.

The Kell House was forced to fix up the museum after the drought created a lot of problems. They spent $450,000 on phase one of the project to fix the foundation.

Now they are looking to raise $2 million for the second and final phase to address problems to the interior and exterior of the museum. Leaders of the Kell House said it needs to be done.

"The Kell House has so many stories to tell," Executive Director of the Wichita County Heritage Society, Delores Culley said. "I mean Frank Kell and Joseph Kemp thought of so many unique things to do for Wichita Falls and Wichita County in this house."

The Kell House Museum was the home of Frank Kell, who Culley called one of the city's first movers and shakers.

"The very history and fabric of Wichita Falls were probably dreamed up in the office or around the dining room table," she said. "Those are things you can't lose."

Over time the house has deteriorated and needs to be fixed up.

"If we don't address these issues, eventually we will have to close our doors," Curator of the Kell House, Stacie Flood said.

And they are asking the city to help. 4B Board Chairman, Tony Fidelie, said a lot of the sales tax board's decisions are money driven, but their overall goal is to improve Wichita Falls' quality of life.

"I think the decision that we made to invest in it was a good one," Fidelie said. "I think it will help the Kell House stay in good shape into the future. I'm just really excited to see the final product."

Flood said they get visitors from all over the world.

"They fly into Dallas and want to experience Texas," she said. "They say where can I go to experience Texas and not be in a big city. And they come to Wichita Falls, tour the Kell House, and visit other local museums."

"This is a house for the whole community to share and we hope they will all help us contribute and make the house available for years and years to come," Flood continued.

Flood said they are going after grants and foundations for the project, but it will be fully funded by donations. Donations made to take a tour will not go towards the project. They will continue to be used for everyday upkeep.

The Kell House is hoping to have all their funds by 2018 and begin the work shortly after. Flood said the city is doing a great job finding out what Wichita Falls needs to do to, in her words, make people want to visit, stay, live, and play.

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