Bikers benefit Oxford House preservation

Annual Museum Motorcycle Ride set for September 24

Advertisement photos by BRAD KEITH


STEPHENVILLE (September 4, 2016) – The 6th Annual Museum Motorcycle Ride is ready to roar. The ride, set for Saturday, Sept. 24, invites motorcycle enthusiasts to kick off the fall season from the back of their bikes while raising funds for the Stephenville Historical House Museum’s Oxford House Preservation Project (OHPP).

Registration for the one-and-a-half-hour ride begins at 8:30 a.m. on the museum grounds, with kickstands up at 10. There is a $25 entry fee per bike, but riders are encouraged to bring a little extra spending money to participate in at 50/50 raffle. Tickets are $5 each or five for $20.

Coffee and donuts will be served at registration, and lunch is provided following the ride.

OHPP chair and museum board member Dianne Wilson said motorcycle riders first came together to help preserve the historic home in October 2010 following a suggestion from her husband, J.B. Wilson, who began riding in 2008.

Fellow museum board member Robin Ritchie said the idea for the motorcycle fundraiser was a good one as it welcomes a new crowd to join together on the museum grounds and travel areas already on riders’ radars.

Motorcyclists depart from the museum grounds and travel East on Washington Street to FM 205. They follow the farm-to-market highway to the Paluxy, hitting FM 51 South to U.S. Highway 67 before heading west to FM 2481 North into Bluff Dale and back to the museum.

“It’s a beautiful scenic ride through the hills and curves of some of Erath and Hood counties’ back roads,” Wilson said.    

The first annual event welcomed about 35 bikes and registration has almost double since that time, according to Wilson. photos by BRAD KEITH photos by BRAD KEITH

“Many riders are from Stephenville and the surrounding area, but others have come from the Killeen area, the (Dallas/Fort Worth) Metroplex and some from the Houston area,” Wilson said. “Many of the riders have been to all five previous events. Members of the Goldwing Road Riders Association Chapter P and Chapter M and members of the local Christian Motorcyclists Association have been to most of the events.”

The ride is one of two annual projects organized by the museum board benefitting the OHPP. The project committee also sponsors a soup supper in January. Additional funding is collected through grant applications, memorial contributions and donations.

Wilson said proceeds from this year’s Museum Motorcycle Ride and soup supper will fund the repair the Oxford House’s porch decking, several window screens and construction of porch railings. 

Meanwhile, Sundown on the Square, an event organized by a committee of citizens, will also support the OHPP this year. For more information on that event and how its proceeds will be used, read the associated story from The Flash.

Cruising 4 Cause 12 Cruising 4 Cause 11 Cruising 4 Cause 09 photos by BRAD KEITH photos by BRAD KEITH

About the Oxford House Preservation Project

The Oxford House, constructed in the late 1890s by Judge W.J. Oxford, is a dramatic example of the late Queen Anne style architecture.

The house was purchased from Bill Oxford by Drs. Bill and Nanette Evans in 2010 and donated to the museum. The Evans made the first donation to the relocation fund, and Sherri Knight, museum board member and chair of the Oxford House relocation committee, raised more than $100,000 in less than five months to move the historical home to the museum grounds.

Ricky King and his crew then dissected the home into 11 pieces, moving the lower floor in April 2011 and the top story the following month.

With the relocation complete, Wilson took over the OHPP, being named chair of the committee. Throughout the process, she has maintained a detailed history of the effort, which she shared with The Flash.

In 2011, reassembly of the home and the installation of a new roof became the focus of the project, in an effort to protect the integrity of the structure. Meanwhile, fundraising continued until August 2015, at which time repairs to the wooden exterior began. 

“When vintage matching cypress clapboard could be found, those were used to replace rotted clapboards,” Wilson said. “When those could no longer be obtained, Garrett Dickey and his crew at Maverick Designs fabricated clapboards from yellow pine. They rebuilt the large front second-story window frame containing the original 1898 colored-glass window.” 

Wayne Sherrod disassembled the colored-glass window and rebuilt it with new lead caming to assure its stability. 

“The balcony railing and floor were replaced, and Patrick Felts Painting Company was hired to scrape and paint the entire exterior with pain donated by Valspar Paint Company through Dowell ACE Hardware,” Wilson added.  “There are still a few places where touch-up will take place.”

The next steps in the preservation process include hardscaping and landscaping on outside of the Oxford House, followed by the longest phase of the project.

“Interior renovation will be the longest phase,” Wilson said. “The house is almost 3,000 square feet of interior space.”

Interior renovation will include new sheetrock, painting, sanding and prepping of the original long-leaf pine flooring, reinstalling heat and air units, plumbing, electrical and waterline repairs, kitchen renovation and more.

While the OHPP committee initially aimed to have the project complete by 2020, Wilson said the most painstaking part of the process, raising funds, will likely push the end date further into the future.   

Once restored, the Oxford House will serve as a place for enhanced museum services including rotating exhibits and museum office and gift shop. It will also provide facilities for curation of artifacts and research, as well as wedding receptions, children’s programs and other activities.

Learn more about Stephenville Historical House Museum and OHPP visit the museum’s website, where online monetary contributions can also be made.

You can also pledge support to the project by calling the museum grounds at 254-965-5880, emailing or visiting in person. Stephenville Historical House Museum is located at 525 East Washington Street. Office hours are 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday and 1-5 p.m. Sunday.


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