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INSIDE THE STEPHENSON HOUSE - November 17, 2004

Hi! Henry the Stephenson House mouse is back again. The very first thing I want to tell you all is that after careful searching I have finally found a couple new hidey places and one really great place for my warm, fluffy winter bed. Ol' Henry sure enjoyed sleeping in Keith's red truck but it was time to find hidey places in my newly plastered house.


Now, I also have to tell you about some new news about 'my' house. The other night the board members of the Friends came to 'my' house and did some serious talking. Henry here scampered around to get into one of my hidey places so I could hear everything that went on.


I learned a lot including news about the staircase. The staircase, which is being crafted by the Adams Stair Co. of Chicago, will arrive here at Col. Ben's house at the end of November. Daniel Tolman probably built the original staircase in Col. Ben's house but no description of it was ever found since the original staircase has been long gone for many a year! Jack and Laura, the architects, used the house at Connors Prairie as the base for the design of our new staircase. Now, Ol' Henry would like to explain Connor's Prairie to you all. Connor's Prairie is a village of restored log cabins that has been developed around the home of William Connor outside Indianapolis. This man named Connor must have seen Col. Ben's house because three years after Col. Ben built his house, Connor built one almost identical on the prairie in Indiana. Just between you and me, Henry here has seen pictures of Connor's house and has heard enough about it to know that Col. Ben's house was much more elegant and beautiful than the house Connor built.


Let's get back to the staircase. Jack and Laura designed a Federal style staircase that is similar to the one in the Connor house. They used the column design on Col. Ben's and Lucy's fireplace mantels as inspiration for the newel post. Now, that makes for a very personal and special staircase. I heard Joe say that it will take four days for the man from the Adams Stair Co. to install the staircase. Ol' Henry can hardly wait!


Boy, it is fun to have the board meeting here at 'my' house. Not only is it fun, Henry sure learns a lot. For instance, the other night Joe talked about paint colors and wallpaper for all the rooms in The Col. Benjamin Stephenson House. Joe has spent a lot of time researching the colors used in Col. Ben's 1820's home. Ol' Henry heard that Joe spends so much time at Buhrmester's Paint Store that some people think he works there! No, the truth is that Ray and Joe are working with the paint analysis done by Peter Wollenberg of St. Louis and the Benjamin Moore historic paints to get the right colors mixed. When they are finished Ol' Henry will have a report on paint and wallpaper for you. I hope very soon.


The paint crew is down to applying the final coat of Dove White paint on the ceilings. And Henry here has spent a lot of time watching Tom as he chiped away at removing the old adhesive on the original 1845 flooring. A tough job, but what a reward to see the cleaned floorboards. It is looking good guys!
Oh, I know one thing I forgot to tell you about. The Friends board is reviewing designs for a sign for in front of The House. You know, a sign that tells people who we are and the hours we will be open. John is working on the design and final plans should be ready soon.


There sure is a lot going on. I heard Carol and Joe say The Stephenson House will open to the public next October, barely a year from now. There is a lot more to do this next year and I know the members of the board will be working hard. Everyone I hear talking about the hands-on, visitor friendly museum is excited. What a great place this will be when it is furnished with some wonderful antiques and good reproductions of furniture we know Col Ben and Lucy owned. Remember, we have the household inventory and that means the acquisitions committee actually has a list to follow and knows what is needed to furnish the Stephenson's house as it was when they lived here. Henry here hopes that everything goes according to plan and the October opening becomes a reality!


Just the other day I heard about the Children's Museum. I also heard children's voices from that direction. Well, today Ol' Henry is going to cross the road and visit Christy at the museum and hope to join a birthday party. I sure am anxious to visit, especially with a chance to eat some of the birthday goodies. This should be a fun adventure!


See ya' later,
Henry


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