The Calhoun County Land Bank Authority raised $13,500 at it’s first-ever MAYDAY! fundraiser, held at 26 Fremont St. in Battle Creek Wednesday, May 1. All proceeds from the event will go towards restoring the exterior of the 1800s Victorian home. More than 80 people attended the event, which also drew 21 sponsors.

“On behalf of the entire staff at the Calhoun County Land Bank, I’d like to thank our sponsors for their generous contributions and the Battle Creek community for supporting such an important project,” said Krista Trout-Edwards, executive director of the Calhoun County Land Bank. “We are overwhelmed by the outpouring of support, which will help complete an important phase of this restoration project.”

In addition to the funds raised through the MAYDAY! fundraiser, the Land Bank also received the Evans-Graham Memorial Preservation Award, which is a $10,000 grant from the Michigan Architectural Foundation to help fund the project. The grant is awarded annually to groups or individuals seeking to preserve historic Michigan architecture.

26 Fremont 1940-Willard Library

“The Land Bank’s effort to rehabilitate this beautiful Victorian home aligns with our mission to advance public awareness of how architecture enriches life,” said Randy Case AIA, trustee of the Michigan Architectural Foundation. “We’re proud to support the Land Bank in its efforts to sensitively rehabilitate this historic property utilizing preservation trades training to help further the discussion of how to best preserve our state’s historic assets.”

26 Fremont Street was built by the Barber family in 1870 and served as the family’s home for three generations and 70 years. The What Not Shop, a small local business, operated out of the home during the 1920s. 26 Fremont is one of two remaining grand homes that once stood at the corner of Fremont and Frelinghuysen when Battle Creek was a thriving new frontier.

“With the generous support of our sponsors, attendees and the Michigan Architectural Foundation we can continue the important work of stabilizing and repairing the exterior of this house, restoring this home to the neighborhood crown jewel it was in the 1800s and 1900s,” Trout-Edwards said.

Last summer, the house served as a learning lab for those interested in preserving and restoring historic homes. The workshops paired residents with skilled tradespeople who taught them how to repair windows, plaster and foundations. More workshops are being scheduled for this summer at 26 Fremont St. Updates will be available on the Land Bank’s website 

26 Fremont-Google Street View