Gordon Hall Fundraiser Looking for a Last Minute Push to Reach Its Goal

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The Dexter Area Historical Society (DAHS) hopes a last-minute push can get them closer to the goal of $50,000 for Gordon Hall’s restoration.

A year ago, a group of Gordon Hall supporters offered a matching contribution of $20,000 for funds donated to restore Dexter’s historic manor. The Dexter Area Historical Society (DAHS) accepted the challenge, setting a goal of raising $50,000 for renovations. The deadline for the campaign is January 31, 2023.

Renovations to Dexter’s founder, Judge Samuel Dexter’s, home have been ongoing since DAHS purchased the property in 2006. The group is methodically following its Gordon Hall Rehabilitation Master Plan, which outlines the restoration of the property to its condition in the 1860s, around the time of Judge Dexter’s death.

Gordon Hall has had its ups and downs since its construction 180 years ago. After Judge Dexter died in 1863, his widow remained in the manor until her death in 1899. The home was sold and rented out for years afterward, eventually falling into disrepair. Judge Dexter’s granddaughter, Katherine McCormick, purchased the property in 1938 to restore it. In 1950, she donated Gordon Hall to the University of Michigan, which subdivided the home into four apartments for faculty and staff. In 2006, the DAHS purchased the historic site saving it from developers.

Gordon Hall’s exterior while being renovated. Photo courtesy of DAHS.

DAHS paid off the $1.5 million purchase price in 2013, and money could now be put toward restoration. The renovations, while exciting, have moved at the speed of fundraising. Since purchasing the manor, DAHS has completed much of the exterior work, including stabilizing entrances, restoring cosmetic features, and installing modern restrooms (much appreciated by event attendees). Other smaller projects have been completed, including the handicap ramp, asbestos mitigation, and restoration of the original wide plank floors on the ground floor.

With one month to go, the “Gordon Hall Challenge Grant” campaign has raised $31,500. DAHS hopes to have an end-of-the-campaign push to get them to their goal. All money goes directly to restoration work.

DAHS heartily thanks those who have donated. Anyone who would like to support can do so at the DAHS website, www.dexterhistory.org, and click the DONATE button.

To donate by check, make it to “DAHS” and note “Gordon Hall renovation” on the memo line. Please mail it to DAHS, 3443 Inverness St., Dexter, MI 48130.

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