The Ozark Heritage Association (OHA)
The Ozark Heritage Association (OHA) was organized shortly after the city purchased the house by concerned private citizens in order to assist the City of Ozark in planning and executing restoration of the Holman House. The mission of the OHA includes maintaining the home which serves as a focal point for displaying the history of Ozark, Dale County and Fort Rucker. The Holman House also serves as a place for civic and social functions.
Mr. Jim Barganier, a Montgomery architect, recently made the following comment about the Holman House to a large group assembled in the foyer of the house for a fund raiser; “In my opinion, we are in the finest remaining example of a neoclassical house in Alabama and one of the finest in the South.” Mr. Barganier noted the quality of the exterior design, the interior design, and the craftsmanship. His comments were an endorsement of the same view expressed by Mr. Robert Gamble, a noted architectural historian, and someone who has assisted the association in planning for restoration of the building. The City of Ozark, with support of the OHA, has established the vision that the Holman House will serve as an architectural, historical, and cultural anchor for Ozark and Dale County.
The OHA, formed as a private, non-profit corporation, currently has approximately 150 members, and a 25-person board of directors. In 2013, it received its tax exempt status from the IRS. The OHA meets once a month or more often as required to conduct business in support of the Holman House restoration and operations. The members are actively involved in oversight of the use of the house for events, planning for future fund raising and restoration, and frequently involved in work projects and conducting tours at the house. The OHA conducts active fund raising and coordinates with the City of Ozark to support capital improvements and restoration activities. Event sponsors that use the house, other than the City of Ozark or the OHA, pay a rental fee and arrange for security and cleanup. The OHA pays the Ozark Chamber of Commerce a small stipend to handle reservations and bookings.
When the house was purchased by the city, the building was in need of immediate repairs. Two of the eight massive columns supporting the two porticos had fallen, and shortly after the city bought the house, a third column fell, fortunately, away from the house. If another column had fallen and one of the porticos was compromised, the job of restoration would have increased exponentially. One of the first tasks of the OHA was the planning for replacement of the fallen columns. On the advice of Mr. Robert Gamble, former Architectural Historian for the state of Alabama, who visited the house and made numerous suggestions about how to proceed, the association contacted Mr. Harnsberger, a Philadelphia architect, whose specialty is column restoration. Mr. Harnsberger volunteered his time to visit the house and subsequently made recommendations on repair and replacement using Spanish red cedar for the columns and replacement composition capitals. Initial fund raising efforts generated approximately $30,000, enough to complete three column replacements. The eight principle columns are now in good condition.
The distinctive roof is composed of green Ludovici tiles. Although it is in fundamentally sound condition, there were numerous small leaks in the roof, and a roofing contractor made the necessary repairs. The exterior of the building is composed of painted heart pine boards. In the 1990’s, the existing lead paint was stripped and the house repainted. By 2013, there was a need for repainting, re-glazing the windows, and significant exterior wood repair. In 2015, the city obtained a Wiregrass Resource Conservation and Development grant for $50,000 to complete the repainting the exterior. An Alabama Historical Commission Grant, #2015-06, provided $10,000 toward the necessary funding for a contract with Old House Specialist, Ms. Hilda Dent, of Montgomery, to re-glaze the windows and do the most pressing wood repairs.
The inside of the house was in remarkably good condition, although it needed updating. Approximately $135,000 has been raised from private sources and applied to restoration efforts, to include:
- Installing of heating and air conditioning on the main level.
- Replacing the outdated kitchen with a caterer’s kitchen, which involved stripping and refinishing the pine floors and installing new sinks and appliances. Much of the labor was donated by members of the City of Ozark Fire Department.
- Refurbishing the two restrooms on the main floor.
- Refurbishing and furnishing three upstairs rooms converted into a “bridal suite. ”Two of the second floor rooms have been set aside for museum spaces:
- The Military History Museum, named in honor of The Honorable Val McGee, a local judge, historian and writer, has been completed and archives a number of objects, documents, and photographs to showcase the connection between Ozark/Dale County, Fort Rucker and the National Guard. A local veterans group paid for the construction of a number of display cases and recruited the contribution of artifacts, documents and photographs which are open to public viewing.
- The second space, under development, is dedicated to the Boykin Family and the contributions of African Americans to Ozark and Dale County. Efforts are underway to fund raise to equip the room for display and to archive documents, photographs and memorabilia to support the educational effort.
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Mar, Jun, Sep, Dec
10:00 am – 2:00 pm
(Please note this schedule may change due to any scheduled event during the same time.)
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please call (334) 774-9321.
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