By Portia Williams
September 19, 2013
PDT Staff Writer
WURTLAND, Ky. — The historic McConnell House is seeking to bolster its membership and to increase visibility of the historic property through membership drives and fund raising events.
Bud Matheny, the current president of the McConnell House, said they want to make more people aware of the McConnell House and what a great attraction it is.
“We want to increase the public’s knowledge of who we are and what we do. The McConnell House is located at the intersection of U.S. 23 and Industrial Parkway in Wurtland. It was built by John McCutcheon McConnell. He started in 1833, and finished it in 1844, 27 years before the Civil War,” Matheny said.
Matheny said McConnell moved into the home with his wife and five children about mid-June of 1834. He said McConnell died of pneumonia only three weeks after moving into his new home.
“We offer tours to school kids. We are starting our Heritage Tours where we teach the kids about their heritage, about how the kids lived in the houses in 1834. The kids find it amazing that there was no heat, no air conditioning, no television, and things like that,” Matheny said.
Matheny said they are gearing up for their biggest fundraiser for the McConnell House.
“Right now we are preparing for our biggest fundraising event of the year, which is the 24th annual Heritage Croquet Tournament. We play for the Heritage Cup, and there’s 40 teams that will be competing on eight courts on the great lawn of the McConnell House,” Matheny said.
He said the kick-off for the Croquet Tournament will be Friday, Sept. 20.
“We kick it off by having what we call, ‘Wicket Friday.’ Starting Friday at five o’clock the teams are invited to practice. The tournament starts Saturday morning. The first game will be at 9 o’clock,” Matheny said.
Matheny said other fundraising events for the McConnell House were held in the spring.
“In early spring we have a ‘Spring Tea’, and a Kentucky Derby party. It is a lot of fun, and is always held the first Saturday in May as the Derby is,” Matheny said.
Matheny said he has had an affinity for the McConnell House from the time he stepped inside of it.
“I got involved with the McConnell House and absolutely just fell in love with it. It has such a great history, and it’s such a beautiful home and has so much that you can give there,” Matheny said.
He said they are currently working on a series of construction projects at the McConnell House.
“We have a big construction project going on now, we’re restoring the old building out back that was a wash house. We’re putting public restrooms outside hoping to cater more to tourism. We want to put some picnic tables underneath the big trees and some concrete benches,” Matheny said.
Matheny said one of the interesting features to the McConnell House is the Traveller’s Room.
“Upstairs, as some of the houses of the day had, there is a room that is only accessible from the outside, and it’s the Traveller’s Room. People could stop there when they were travelling by river boat or horse back and spend the night,” Matheny said.
He said they are in the process of restoring the room.
“We are cleaning it out, and we are going to furnish it back as it would have been in the day. There are just so many things that we have planned to do, that its hard not to get excited about it. We have a good, active board, and we’re doing a lot of good things,” Matheny said.
For more information or to become an official partner of the Historic McConnell House, contact Bud Matheny at 606-585-1585.
Portia Williams may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 286 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For breaking news, follow Portia on Twitter @PortiaWillPDT.