Hargis House club seeking new members | Grand Island Local News
Everyone in Grand Island is familiar with the magnificent Queen Anne-style house that graces the corner of Second Street and Lincoln Avenue.
A group of women needs your help to keep the Grand Island landmark in good shape.
The Hargis House Woman’s Club, which owns the three-story structure and the land it sits on, is actively seeking new members and financial support. The club also wants people to know the house can be rented for graduation parties, bridal and baby showers, Christmas parties, company meetings and even weddings. It can hold gatherings of up to 115 people.
The women’s club held an open house Friday afternoon in an effort to familiarize more people with the old mansion, which is known as the Hargis House.
Don’t assume that things will always remain the same. The house came close to being auctioned off two years ago.
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Jolynn Gardner-Scholz, a member of the Hargis House Woman’s Club, says the building is the perfect place to have a gathering. The structure is big and has all the tables and tablecloths any group would need. On the main floor is a grand piano.
The Grand Island Woman’s Club, which owned the building for many years, has disbanded.
Members of the Hargis House Woman’s Club sent out letters to 160 people, inviting them to Friday’s open house.
Having more members and renting out the structure would help the group raise money. They’d also like more people to get to know the building. If people “see how beautiful it is, maybe they’ll want to rent it out,” said Sherry Mason, one of the group’s members.
Mason and Gardner-Scholz were both members of the Grand Island Woman’s Club. Mason hopes that new members would help keep the Hargis House “going forever and ever.”
“There’s just an air in here that make you feel like you’re Victorian,” Gardner-Scholz said.
Needed renovation includes a new roof, window reglazing and some new windows. A new sidewalk is needed, as well as work on the foundation.
“We probably need $100,000 just to redo the roof,” Moore said.
In redoing windows on the third floor, the wood must match the original design, because of National Historic Register specifications.
After the major jobs are taken care of, the group would like to reopen the third floor “and have it be a dance floor again,” Moore said.
The ballroom still has its original floor, she said.
The grand dame of Second Street was built in 1898 by Andrew Hargis, who moved to Grand Island in the early 1880s to help establish a business college. Before construction of the house began, 1,500 wagon loads of dirt were brought in to raise the lot several feet above the street. Southwest of the home, a large carriage house — painted in the same colors as the mansion — was built as a stable for the horses and the family cow. On the west side of the house was a circle driveway.
Hargis passed away in 1920, at the age of 51.
Later, the building housed a chiropractic clinic and Christ Lutheran Church.
The Grand Island Woman’s Club bought the property for $17,500 in 1954.
“It’s just part of Grand Island, and always has been,” Moore said.
When Gardner-Scholz was a youngster growing up in Cairo, she’d see the Hargis House and doubted that she’d ever become a member of the group that ran it.
She figured the group consisted just of rich people.
“But we’re not. We’re just common people,” Moore said.
Members of the Grand Island Woman’s Club used to gather for bridge in the Hargis House. Gardner-Scholz was a member of that group. Another unit of the Woman’s Club was a book club.
Occasionally, proceeds from the Woman’s Club would be applied to the house itself.
Gardner-Scholz would like to see the bridge and book clubs return.
Membership in the Hargis House Woman’s Club is $40 a year.
The group would appreciate donations of any size. Those who make required minimum distributions from their retirement accounts and IRAs should keep the Hargis House in mind, the women say.
The mailing address of the Hargis House Woman’s Club is 1109 W. Second St.
For more information, call Moore at 308-379-7377 or Gardner-Scholz at 308-379-2339.