MARION — Harding Home backers have now raised the $1.3 million needed to restore the home to its state in 1920, though fundraising efforts to build a neighboring museum are ongoing.
The Ohio History Connection revealed this week that the $1.3 million restoration project is now fully funded.
About a third of the project cost has been paid for by the Wisconsin-based Jeffris Family Foundation, which offered to provide $435,000 toward the project if the Ohio History Connection was able to raise the remaining two thirds, according to a press release issued by the Ohio History Connection.
The project aims to restore the Harding Home and its grounds to the way they looked in 1920 when Warren G. Harding campaigned for — and ultimately won — the U.S. presidency.
“The restored Harding Home will bring to life the story of the 1920 presidential campaign,” said Burt Logan, executive director and CEO of the Ohio History Connection, in the press release. “The detailed work will open the door for a new generation of visitors to explore this important historic site that showcases Ohio’s place in the national narrative of the presidency.”
The restoration project is part of a larger, estimated $7.3 million project to mark the centennial of Harding’s election to the presidency. The project, called Harding 2020, is slated for completion in 2020.
Besides the restoration of the home and its grounds, project leaders plan to build a neighboring museum called the Warren G. Harding Presidential Center, complete with an exhibit gallery, gift shop and research space.
Project leaders are still raising money toward the museum.
Harding Home Site Manager Sherry Hall said she wasn’t sure what percentage of the museum’s cost had been raised, adding that construction estimates were expected to go up.
Hall said the total project cost, originally estimated at $7.3 million, was consequently expected to be higher than originally thought.
“It’ll probably be somewhat more than that because of the uptick in the construction costs that we’re anticipating,” she said.
The Harding Home was built in 1891 and was home to Warren and Florence Harding for 30 years. It was opened to the public as a museum in 1926 after both of the Hardings had died.
The Harding Home was closed to the public in September and is slated to reopen in spring 2019.