Restorations to the J. Sidna Allen House are one step closer to reality thanks to a large donation Thursday at the historic Fancy Gap home.
During a special ceremony Thursday, the Friends of the Sidna Allen House and Courthouse Productions presented a check and cash totalling $8,220 to the Carroll County Historical Society to go toward restoration of the home. The large check was a combination of funds both groups raised, including proceeds from the Frank Levering play “Sidna Allen’s Dream,” which was performed this April at the Carroll County Courthouse.
Carroll County Historical Society President Ed Stanley accepted the $8,220 check from Kay Cox, who played Sidna Allen’s wife, Betty, in “Sidna Allen’s Dream,” as well as its predecessors, “Thunder in the Hills” and “To Catch the Allens.” She said the check brought the total donated from the two groups to the Sidna Allen House restoration project to $23,327 from the three plays combined.
“We want to thank everybody that was in the play because it takes three months out of your life. People that are not in them really don’t know what it takes. For three months, day and night, that is all we eat, live and breathe – the play and lines,” Cox said, noting the play would not have been possible without playwright Frank Levering, Shelby Puckett of Courthouse Productions and stage managers Bethany Hill and Courtney Shaepler.
Cox said the Friends of the Allen House group has been working with the Carroll County Historical Society at the house. Prior to Thursday’s ceremony, two men stopped and made a $250 donation toward the house’s restorations, she said.
“We are hoping to buy new posts. We may not be able to get them all at one time, but we have enough money to get a few of them,” Cox said of new porch posts for the home. “Our plays have been really good for the community. It has been like a healing for a lot of people and I am very proud of our plays. I hope Frank will continue.”
Bill Webb, Vice President of the Carroll County Historical Society, then gave a priority list for items to be repaired associated with the home. Top on the list is getting water drainage corrected around the house to avoid future problems. Additionally, he said the group will probably tear the collapsing back wing off the home and get rid of the old furnace for now.
“That will be rebuilt at some point in the future with a façade that matches the house,” Webb said. “We have had meetings with VDOT and a county contractor to see about getting our required road entrance on the easement here to the north side of the house. We had already been talking about replacing porch columns to ensure the porch roof doesn’t collapse on us. If the funding the Friends have doesn’t cover the columns needed, we are going to make sure the Historic Society adds to the balance to get enough columns to get that porch supported, buying them all at once so they all match, and it is one big project.”
Those in the community interested in helping may wish to come to a “Friends” meeting to learn more. The next meeting will be Monday, July 25 at 6:30 p.m. at Aunt Bea’s in Hillsville.
“We are continuing our efforts to try to raise money, but by the same token we are getting indications of donated labor and donated efforts and donated work by contractors in the community that go far beyond money donations, but it’s all necessary and all very, very much appreciated,” Webb said.
Allen Worrell can be reached at (276) 779-4062 or on Twitter@AWorrellTCN