Community celebrates return of Worthington Mansion

Renovations wrap up after 10-plus years

Posted 5/26/22

What started as a proposed renovation idea in a school cafeteria a generation ago has since become an 11-year restoration project to bring Quilcene’s Worthington Mansion back to its former …

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Community celebrates return of Worthington Mansion

Renovations wrap up after 10-plus years

Posted

What started as a proposed renovation idea in a school cafeteria a generation ago has since become an 11-year restoration project to bring Quilcene’s Worthington Mansion back to its former Victorian glory.

Volunteers, board members, and others involved with the Quilcene Historical Museum came out to the mansion Friday, May 20 to celebrate the official grand opening of the 130-year-old mansion.

“We are celebrating the end of an 11-year journey to restore this beautiful Victorian mansion,” said board member Carol Christiansen of the Quilcene Historical Museum.

The restoration project was certainly a journey for the organization, which raised more than $1.6 million for the property’s restoration and had over 150 volunteers with 43,000 hours of service in total to assist with the property at one point or another, according to the museum.

“We did several phases to put the house in order. We actually had to move it off of the foundation and build a new foundation for it,” Christiansen said. “We moved it back in, we restored the exterior first, and then we went in to do the interior.”

The interior of the mansion has been invigorated with time period-accurate furnishings of Victorian beauty, which adorn the 17-room, three-story, and ADA-accessible abode.

Although the biggest parts of the Worthington Mansion to-do list have been crossed off, the Quilcene Historical Museum has one last task in the form of finishing the lawn and landscaping.

The museum has expansive plans for the use of Worthington Mansion, but the biggest focus for the organization is to provide space for the Quilcene community.

“It’s for our community. It’s not just to have tourists come through, and we’re very proud and committed to that,” Christiansen said. “We were really committed to hiring local people when we did all this work, and by and large, we did that.”

On the topic of community, the Quilcene Historical Museum is set to schedule a series of meetings to gather for ideas and foster discussion on how the historical building will be used.

“We haven’t had time yet to explore what our community totally wants. But once we get this done, then we’re going to be able to work and see what their needs are,” she said.

Beyond being just community-centric, the mansion and its uses have been organized to become a sustainable model for use in the short-term and long-term future.

“It’s going to be a real community asset because we’re approaching it in two ways. We will have a professional service to offer it to people who want to rent the entire house, but we also have a local community person, who if you want to have it for a wedding in the meadow or in the house, you’ll be able to do that,” Christiansen said. “It will be an economic driver, too.”

Following the grand opening, the Worthington Mansion was open to the public over the weekend. Close to 500 visitors came out to the home over all three days, according to the Quilcene Historical Museum.

The museum has already scheduled multiple events at the mansion and surrounding grounds for this year.

“We have a circus coming this summer, we have the Bon Jon [Pass Out] run, and we have a half-marathon coming,” she said. “We’ll reserve days that people can use [the mansion] to have community events. Really, the sky’s the limit.”

The home was originally built by Quilcene town founder Millard Fillmore Hamilton in 1892. Unfortunately for Hamilton, his business operations were caught in the Panic of 1893 — an economic depression in the U.S. — and he lost his newly-constructed house and surrounding property to creditors. The house was eventually purchased by Hamilton’s one-time business competitor, William J. Worthington, in 1907 and was owned by the Worthington family until 2011.

The completion of the renovations are quite an achievement for the museum, considering the renovation project has been in the works for more than a decade.

The former owner of the property, Eilleen Worthington, made a special offer to the museum to purchase the home, 1915 barn, and 10 acres of land in 2011, and the rest is history.

“We had two of our board members talk to Mrs. Worthington to see if she’d be willing to sell it to the museum,” Christiansen said. “We went fundraising right away to be able to purchase the house from her.”

 

Visit the museum's website at www.loc8nearme.com/washington/quilcene/quilcene-historical-museum/6665238.

 

 

 

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