Mumford House getting its well-deserved renovations

It’s the oldest building on campus, and it definitely looks like it. But Mumford House is getting a new lease on life — and it’s more than just a face-lift.

Last week, renovations began at the Mumford House, which was built in 1870 to be a “model farmhouse” for the experimental farm. Deans of Agriculture used to call it home.

These days, the building isn’t used for much of anything except occasional study by architecture students. The paint and interior are peeling and crumbling. The University once discussed moving it to the farm on the south side of campus to serve as an ACES welcome center, giving the retired old building a fresh purpose.

But the move was not to be. The Mumford House is on the National Register of Historic Places, and moving it would have disqualified it from that list. Mumford House needed to stay put, or lose its historic status, so the Board of Trustees decided it would stay put.

The University’s Facilities & Services is moving forward to restore the house. The work doesn’t just amount to a fresh coat of paint, or even a complete renovation; two later additions to the house are being torn down. According to the Facilities & Services website, the house will be weatherized and protected from water damage “to protect the house from further deterioration.” This stage of the process has a budget of $91,000 and is projected to be completed in a month.

While some think the University should hold off on making such a drastic move, we’re glad about one thing — work is getting done.

Mumford House has sat neglected and unused long enough. It’s time for work to move forward to preserve an important part of the University’s history, especially a part so symbolic of our agricultural roots. We think this is a great first step and hope the rest of the work needed to restore the house to the way it was over a century ago is funded and begins soon. Mumford House is an important part of our history, and we are excited to see that history honored.