NORTH TONAWANDA, N.Y. (WIVB)- It holds decades of local history; pieces of the Lumber City’s past you won’t find anywhere else.
From antique Wurlitzer pianos to logging artifacts, even family heirlooms. But since 2009, the North Tonawanda History Museum hasn’t paid its mortgage to a lender in California.
“That’s what we’re trying to do, raise $289,000 dollars to save the building,” explained new trustee, Phyllis Dubickas.
It was in 2009 the museum moved from it’s Oliver Street location to a larger space on Webster Street near the Riviera Theatre in North Tonawanda.
“At the time when we bought this building, half of it was rented out to a tenant, a tanning bed actually was there, but they left within six months of us taking ownership,” trustee Audrey Monkiewicz explained.
Without that rent, paying the lender has been impossible according to Monkiewicz.
According to the lender’s local attorney with the HoganWillig law firm, the Museum hadn’t paid its mortgage since August 2009.
If the museum can’t come up with the nearly $300,000 the building will likely be foreclosed, and the artifacts inside will need a new home.
For Marica Westphal, who donated her family’s wedding dress collection, a move is out of the question.
“It’s very delicate,” she said of the fabric from her great-great-grandmother’s wedding down from 1868.
Now, trustees are hoping North Tonawanda residents will help them save the building before it’s too late.
A banner outside the museum says it all; it reads “Save our history and heritage. Donate NOW!”
Monkiewicz said the banner has been up about the month. Of the nearly $300,000 the museum needs, trustees have raised around $20,000.
The case is next expected before State Supreme Court Judge Richard Kloch Aug. 10.