Serving Franklin County, WA

Museum to remodel condemned building

Hotel, restaurant planned for historic bank building

CONNELL — North Franklin Heritage Museum plans to remodel the condemned building that used to house a historical bank.

The work will cost an estimated $400,000, so museum officials are asking for community donations.

The Jesse L. Colley American Legion Post No. 195 was struggling to maintain funding for the upkeep of the building at 307 N. Columbia Ave. leading to its acquisition by the Heritage Museum on June 12.

To add to the struggle, the building recently had its roof blown off during a storm this year on April 1.

The original building was the Franklin County Bank, built by Connell founder F.D. Mottet.

He built the original wood-framed Franklin County Bank – the first bank in the county – in 1902.

It was later reconstructed with brick in 1906 and has had several tenants including Morgan's Hotel and Café, Rodger's Hotel, Sunland Hotel and Luckey's Grocery Store.

Now, museum officials hope to remodel the building into a boutique hotel, restaurant and meeting space named "C Street Vault," said Shelly Harper, museum executive director.

"This project presents an exciting opportunity to restore a historical bank property, revive the American Legion for our local veterans, create a unique hospitality experience, and contribute to the community's economic and cultural growth," Harper said in a letter on the project. "We are confident that our commitment to preserving history, providing exceptional service, and embracing the local community will ensure the long-term success of this venture."

They plan to replace the roof and provide structural security to the building for longevity. They are also planning to implement spaces for future retail to occupy.

The museum needs a total of $400,000 to complete all the desired renovations; so far, there is less than $10,000 in the coffers.

Brickwork has begun, Harper said, noting the goal is to have a roof on the building before winter.

"Our mission is to preserve and celebrate this historical landmark while creating exceptional hospitality experiences that captivate our guests." Harper said.

The museum committee dedicated to the remodel is planning to build a wall of donors at the end of the project, she said.

"Together, we can transform this historical bank property into a cherished destination that celebrates the past while captivating the present," she said of the project.


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