Historical society offering open hours


GRAFTON—The Taylor County Historical and Genealogical Society has been hard at work with efforts to restore and revitalize their historic Merchants and Mechanics (M&M) Bank Building, as well as collecting historically significant artifacts, and they would like to show off their progress.

To help showcase their efforts, as well as the many historic items the society has collected throughout its existence, they will be offering residents a chance to visit their building on Friday, September 17and Saturday, September 18th, during their open hours from 11:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m.

“We have select books for sale, ranging from old high school yearbooks to county history,” said ahistorical society member. “Bring any historical inquiries you may have with you, and we hope to see you there!”

And while you’re there, be sure to check out the improvements that have been done to the building.

Over the past could of years, the society has worked to clean up, organize, fix, and restore their building, in an effort to bring it back to its original splendor, and member Olive Ricketts shared that it has been a community effort.

“We have had groups along the way that came to help us,” she said. “We could not have accomplished all we have without the hard work and dedication of our members, along with the countless hours worked by volunteers.”

In the past, AmeriCorps members, volunteers from All Aboard Grafton, community members and neighbors, as well as individuals from the historical society have come together to clean, organize and shelve records from the county’s past. 

In addition, Ricketts revealed that the first-floor rooms will be outfitted with new wiring, drywall and flooring before members make their way to the upstairs of the building.

And while the inside improvements are occurring with little knowledge of community members, the recent return of the building’s conical roof, or witch’s hat, was an improvement that could be seen far and wide.

It had been approximately 65 years since the building has been adorned with the witch’s hat, and Ricketts shared that she hoped by restoring the outward appearance of their building, it might help spark a flame for further improvements to buildings downtown.

“We have been working on this project since 2016 and are so thrilled to finally have the hat here,” said Taylor County Historical and Genealogical Society Member Olive Ricketts. “We hope that it will be a symbol of hope and encouragement for the community. We hope that it might help lead to improvements to other downtown area buildings”

The M&M Bank Building opened its doors for business on June 20, 1891, also housing legal offices and a shorthand, stenography and typing school. After the closure of the bank, the building served as the site of Loar’s Jewelers from 1947 until 1984.

“This building is a part of the county’s history, and we will continue to do work to ensure it has a place in its future,” Ricketts noted. “So, be sure to stop by and check out all that we have done.”

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