receives contributions for repairs
county help support
upkeep of historic building
Helen E. McKinney
CARROLLTON, Ky. (April 2009) Members of the
Port William Historical Society say they are determined to continue
preserving the Masterson House for as long as possible. To do so, they
have recently recieved a $10,000 grant from the City of Carrollton to
cover the cost of repairs to the 208-year-old house, which sits on Hwy.
42 just a few miles east of town.
by Helen E. McKinney
first court held in Gallatin
County, Ky., was held in the main
of the Masterson House.
We hope to keep the house maintained as long as
we are physically and financially able to do so, said Nancy Jo
Grobmyer, the societys outgoing president.
Grobmyer is also curator of the Masterson House and, along with the
historical society, has been involved in its upkeep since the group
inherited it in 1980. At the time, it was owned by Arkema, a local factory
that used it as rental property. When the plant manager offered to deed
it to the Port William Historical Society for $1, the group couldnt
refuse the offer to take possession of such an important piece of history.
It was restored (in 1981) according to the historical integrity
of the period, said Grobmyer.
A new roof was installed at the time, but now it needs to be replaced.
Window sashes need to be repaired, a new water line installed and a
geothermal heating and cooling system is under consideration to make
the house more efficient for community use.
There are a lot of people coming and going here, said Grobmyer.
The house is open for tours every Saturday, from Memorial Day through
Labor Day, and two Heritage Days are held annually. Also, Cub and Boy
Scouts frequently use it, and it serves as the meeting place of the
Port William Historical Society.
The house originally belonged to Sarah and Richard Masterson, who moved
to Carrollton from Lexington, Ky. The Mastersons first settled near
where Point Park is on Water Street. The site is now covered by the
The house was built by slave labor, said Grobmyer. The bricks are laid
in Flemish bond and were made on the grounds. It is one of the oldest
two story brick homes still standing on the Ohio River west of the Allegany
Mountains, she said.
Masterson was among the early trustees of Port William (Carrollton),
which was incorporated in 1794. His home was once the focal point of
the towns activities; the first court of Gallatin County was held
in the main part of the house on May 14, 1799.
The Mastersons were leading Methodists, and the first Methodist church
services in the area were held in their home, Grobmyer said. The couple
is buried in the nearby family cemetery. In 1975, the house was listed
on the National Register of Historic Places.
Because it is a historic landmark, the City of Carrollton agreed to
give $10,000 to the Port William Historical Society.
Ive seen it; it is in need of repairs, said Carrollton
Mayor Dwight Louden.
The city will contribute $4,000 of the initial $10,000 to be used for
facade work, said Louden. The city is giving $4,000 through the Enterprise
Incentive Program grant funding. The remaining $6,000 is to be used
however the society sees fit to accomplish various repairs, he said.
Carroll County Fiscal Court has agreed to pay for the cost of fixing
the roof of the Masterson House. The roof is a big project,
said Carroll County Judge-Executive Harold Tomlinson.
The roof needs to be repaired before bad weather sets in, he said. This
is a difficult time for roofing projects, said Tomlinson, referring
to the bad weather and high winds in mid-September that damaged a lot
of roofs. The county has budgeted $15,000 for this project.
A wooden shake roof will be added to the house, the style of which preserves
the integrity of the building, said Sam Burgess, who serves as
the societys vice president. A member of the society since the
1970s, Burgess said that because of all of the wear and tear the home
has experienced over the years, its time to refurbish the home.
A climate control system is necessary because of the valuable historical
documents and antiques stored in the house, said Burgess. Humidity plays
a huge role in deteriorating these items more rapidly.
The county has contributed $5,000 a year for the past few years to the
Masterson House, but this barely covers the expenses, Burgess said.
Utilities fees are high because the home is not insulated as well as
Six months ago, the Port William Historical Society received a non-profit
501-3c status. Grobmyer said it is time for the group to solicit funding,
create fundraising projects and do what we can to also help out
with repair costs.
The society hopes to hold community celebrations at the Masterson House
at various times in the future, such as during the Christmas holiday
For more information, contact Port William
Historical Society President Karen Claiborne at (859) 567-1993.
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