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and builders Tim Lance and Ken Link . Janie Knopf brought her design background and Gloria Pariseau contributed her construction management experience .
“ I was lucky we had such a great team . Charles and Peter lent their professional expertise . Tim ’ s passion for historic preservation was inspiring . Ken ’ s work on the foundation and his careful attention to construction details was fabulous ,” van Keulen said . “ Gloria ’ s knowledge , contacts , and ability to work with the city and get approvals was invaluable .”
The Hiram Morgan Hill House renovation was completed in 1998 . The official grand opening was marked by a wedding reception for then mayor , Dennis Kennedy , who supported historic preservation and brought visiting dignitaries to the House for tours . Thanks to Historical Society volunteer Mary Lou LeVan , the house was listed on the National Register of Historic Places .
In 2004 , the Historical Society made another bold commitment to take on stewardship of the community museum , formerly the historic Acton House , which had served as its base of operations . Due to the city ’ s library expansion plans , the museum had to be moved from its Main Street location . The Historical Society arranged for its relocation to the Villa Mira Monte property on Monterey Road where the Hiram Morgan Hill House is located .
According to the Historical Society ’ s current board president , Roger Knopf , “ To move the Museum through city streets , under utility wires and oak tree branches , we had to remove the roof . There was a variety of renovation work required so we brought Ken Link back and also worked with Jim Frost . We reopened as the Morgan Hill Museum in 2008 and it ’ s just a great facility today , and a great community resource . Our current museum director , Kathy Devine , is doing an amazing job on our history exhibits and research and archival activities .”
And in a third bold stroke , the Morgan Hill Historical Society created the Centennial History Trail at Villa Mira Monte to help the City of Morgan Hill commemorate the 100th anniversary of its founding in 1906 .
“ For fifty years , our volunteers have worked hard to preserve , maintain and operate Villa Mira Monte as the irreplaceable community asset that it is ...”
The Centennial project was co-chaired by former Historical
Society board members Jennifer Tate and Janie Knopf . Leading the planning and construction of the Trail were Former Morgan Hill Mayor Steve Tate and Roger Knopf .
“ We got community input for the trail and then created one hundred trail markers to commemorate important historic milestones ,” Janie Knopf said . “ It begins in 4,000 B . C . with indigenous tribes that first inhabited our region and continues into the new millennium . Jerry Pyle created the trail ’ s spiral design , Chris Foster designed the tiles for the trail markers , and Make it Mine fabricated them . Today , families love to walk around the trail and read about our history .”
- Kathy Sullivan , Past MHHS President
Before the move , Ellie Weston managed the Museum with help from Bud O ’ Hare , John Ward , Bill Tykol and others . On moving day , Weston and other volunteers escorted the museum through Downtown Morgan Hill in the wee hours of the morning .
“ It was exciting to know that the museum would finally have a permanent home at Villa Mira Monte and be accessible to the community ,” Weston said . Weston is a former board president and is currently the property manager at Villa Mira Monte .
During its 50 year history , the Historical Society has worked closely with the City of Morgan Hill and the many business owners and residents in the community who support its mission .
According to board member and former president , Kathy Sullivan , “ For fifty years , our volunteers have worked hard to preserve , maintain and operate Villa Mira Monte as the irreplaceable community asset that it is . We ’ ve hosted events and offered history education and media programs that connect the community with our local history . We couldn ’ t possibly do it without our docents and so many others , and without our collaborative partnership with the City of Morgan Hill .”
MAIN IMAGE : Hiram Morgan Hill House at Villa Mira Monte . ABOVE LEFT : The Acton House , home to the Morgan Hill History Museum was relocated and renovated by Ken Link , Jim Frost , and current MHHS President Roger Knoff , and reopened in its current location in 2008 . ABOVE CENTER : View of the Centennial History Trail from the steps of the museum . ABOVE RIGHT : View of the Hiram Morgan Hill House from the museum . All photos courtesy of Susan Brazelton : www . suebrazeltonphotography . com
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