The Dubuque County Historical Society, which operates the Mathias Ham House, was awarded a $270,000 Challenge Grant from the Jeffris Family Foundation after completing its fundraising efforts for the matching $540,000 for the project through the Preserve the Wonder Capital Campaign. The $810,000 will support the restoration, preservation, and interior improvements to the house and its mechanical system.

“Beyond structural benefits of this work will be its impact on how guests experience the home,” said Emma Sundberg, Director of Curatorial Services at the River Museum. “Full restoration of the windows means that, with proper UV protective film, the shutters can be opened to allow natural light at all levels of the home. Another exciting aspect is the plaster work and stabilizing of walls and stairs will allow access to the uppermost floor, which features a 360-degree window view of Eagle Point Park and the surrounding neighborhood. It is an area that has been roped off for years but will reopen at the end of the project and the necessary improvements.”

The Jeffris Family Foundation was established in 1979 by Bruce and Eleanor Jeffris, and their son Tom. The Foundation assists the development of historic sites for nonprofit organizations in small towns and cities in eight Midwestern states: Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, and Michigan.

The areas of focus will be the historic windows, sash, doors, and storm windows, plaster repair, painting, carpentry, two bathroom remodels, plumbing, and electrical. Stickley Morton Architects and Gronen Restoration are assisting on the project. Surveying work has already begun at the site and restoration will begin over the next several months.

The Jeffris Family Foundation has also supported local Dubuque projects such as the Steeple Square renovations.

The Mathias Ham Historic Site, located at 2241 Lincoln Ave., is open seasonally to visitors from Memorial Day to Labor Day, Friday – Sunday from 11 A.M – 4 P.M. Guided and self-guided tours are available. The site also plays host to the Audrey Hammer Fourth of July Ice Cream Social on July 4 from 11 A.M. – 4 P.M., a Dubuque holiday tradition featuring picnic foods, music, ice cream, historical demonstrations, house tours, and cannon fire.