MARYSVILLE — Although PermaBilt’s construction of the Marysville Historical Society’s long-awaited museum began with little fanfare early last month, Ken Cage and Steve Muller noted the progress that’s already been made in clearing out the site and laying down the lines establishing its foundation and perimeter.
Cage, the president of the Marysville Historical Society, joined Muller, an MHS Board member who’s serving as the museum’s project manager, in taking stock of the work that’s been completed so far, and speaking with the PermaBilt workers on site, on Tuesday, Oct. 1. According to Cage, a museum to preserve and display Marysville’s history has been one of the Marysville Historical Society’s goals since its founding in 1974.
“Our collection started out in storage in our members’ garages and attics, and even under our beds,” Cage said.
In 1986, the Marysville Historical Society purchased a plot of land off Armar Road, adjacent to the Jennings Park Barn area, as the future site for such a museum, after which a $3 million capital campaign was launched in 2006. One reason for the 20-year gap between these two dates was an erroneous rumor that started circulating after the Historical Society purchased the property.
“The word was that this site wasn’t buildable, because it was too close to the creek, so we looked around at other sites,” Cage said. “They were mostly okay, except each one had something that disqualified them, so we finally went to the city’s planning department and asked if we could build here. They asked us how big we were planning on building the museum, because there’s a size limit, and told us that we’d need a variance to put it in a residential neighborhood, but they said the creek was far enough away.”
Cage noted that Scott Kirkland’s preliminary architectural designs had to be scaled back in the wake of the economic downturn in 2008, but added that the museum would retain its plans for an old storefront appearance and a community center as part of its design. While Cage credited the local chapters of Soroptimist, Kiwanis and Rotary with supporting the museum, he promised that the museum’s community center would bear the Rotary’s name in honor of the group’s $250,000 in pledged funds.
“Our fundraising was actually going really well until the economy went in the toilet,” Cage said.
“After that, the project went from seeking state funds to being 100 percent funded by the Marysville community,” said Muller, who also serves as a member of the Marysville Noon Rotary and the Marysville City Council. “By bringing in volunteer labor and donations to build this museum and community center, we’re bringing the community together as well, like in the old barn-raising days.”
Muller pointed to the addition of a community center to the museum as one way in which the facility will continue to foster a spirit of community in Marysville even after construction is complete, since its one-story wings will be complemented by a two-story grand hall designed to double as a meeting or reception room with space enough to accommodate just shy of 200 people.
“This building will serve as the Rotary’s new meeting place, and it will be very nice to be able to greet visitors in a place that showcases so much of what’s great about Marysville,” Muller said. “Right now, we just don’t have that many spaces that can support special community events. It’s also fitting that it’s sited right next to the petting zoo area of Jennings Park, which was another Rotary project constructed by PermaBilt.”
While PermaBilt’s heavy equipment has already removed trees and leveled the grounds, Muller estimated that the project could use another half-million dollars in funds, to complete the facility’s construction and furnish its interior.
“Of course, we welcome larger donations, but anything and everything will be appreciated, as long as it’s something,” Muller said. “If a lot of people all chip in a little bit, that will still add up. Everyone’s going to be able to use this facility, after all.”
Muller anticipates that the outer shell of the building should be complete by mid-January of next year, and expects the remaining interior work will wrap up within the following nine to 12 months.
“The exciting thing is that it’s on its way,” Cage said. “There’s no going backward from here.”
Those who are interested in supporting the Marysville Historical Society’s museum and community center can log onto www.marysvillehistory.org/fundraising or call 360-659-3090.