Museum seeks funds for new elevator

Museum seeks funds for new elevator
Barb Limbacher

Freeman Mullet and Becky Detwiler of the The Alpine Hills Museum and Information and Visitors Center are seeking funding for elevator repair or replacement.


The Alpine Hills Museum and Information and Visitors Center is seeking funds to either repair or replace the existing elevator or to purchase and install a new elevator.

According to Freeman Mullet, president of the museum board, a company that was contacted said repairs could cost about $140,000, and another company said it was not repairable and would cost over $200,000 to replace it or seal it.

Mullet said the elevator was used as a freight elevator when Andreas Furniture transported furniture to the three floors and the basement. The elevator has not been used since 2008; however, it has been inspected on an annual basis.

"This is a capital improvement project for the museum. We hope to transport people to the three floors and the basement to view the items that are displayed," Mullet said. "I hope to spark some interest in this project."

According to Becky Detwiler, curator at the museum and director of the Information and Visitors Center, she often calls the Sugarcreek Fire Department, and firefighters regularly carry items up and down the steps. Detwiler rewards the firefighters with doughnuts for their help.

"When visitors come with walkers and children in strollers, they can only visit the first floor as transportation to other floors is not available," Detwiler said. "An elevator would allow everyone to visit all the floors. I opened the museum during spring break in 2022 and did the same this year. It brought visitors to tour the building. We had an increase in visitors in 2023."

In 1976 the museum was established in a house on Main Street across from the current location. It was started by a small group of members of the Ohio Swiss Festival committee. They decided to start a historical society and wanted to have a museum.

Members of the community began donating artifacts, and soon the house was no longer able to accommodate everything. In 1977 the museum was moved across Main Street into a three-story building that was donated by Ranson Andreas.

With more space the exhibits began to grow, with community members donating 1895 fire equipment once used by the Sugarcreek Bucket Brigade, along with clothing and furniture from many different eras. It was opened to the public in 1982. One of the first exhibits was a 20th-century Amish kitchen, along with an 1800s Swiss cheese house and a replica of the office of The Budget newspaper.

German and Swiss settlers introduced their culture and language along with their traditions to this area. The museum has preserved these stories and memories, along with those of the Amish community, and visitors are welcome to take a self-guided tour to learn more about local heritage.

A new book offering a pictorial story of Sugarcreek authored by Wayne R. Miller is available at the museum and The Gospel Shop in Sugarcreek and the Amish-Mennonite Heritage Center in Berlin at a cost of $39.50.

The Alpine Hills Historical Museum is run entirely on monetary donations from the community and those who tour the exhibits, along with hours of labor from volunteers who give of their time to answer questions and welcome any who stop by for a visit.

Memberships are offered to those who wish to support the museum in an ongoing manner.

The museum is open Monday through Saturday through November from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and is closed on Sundays.

The Alpine Hills Museum and Information and Visitors Center is located at 106 Main St. in Sugarcreek.

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