By DEVASTASHA BEAVER
The Hubbard House Underground Railroad Museum unveiled its newest addition to the press, museum board members, the contractors, and the Hubbard family during a private reception Sunday.
In the spring the museum will host an open house for the public, said Museum Director Betsy English. The date of the open house is yet to be determined.
“This addition is what Tom Hubbard had wanted about 15 years ago. This is ultimately his dream,” English said. “He left us an endowment, so it was all privately funded.”
The addition, that English is calling the Thomas Huntington Hubbard Wing, was designed to “take the burden off of the museum itself,” in the case that people will rent it for events and wedding receptions, she said.
“The addition was the next logical step in expanding the museum,” English said. “Hopefully it will last as long as the house has, and it was built in the 1840’s.”
Thomas Hubbard, whom the addition is named for, was a direct descendent of William Hubbard, who moved from Oneida County, New York to Ashtabula Harbor with his wife and six surviving children in April 1834.
English said the addition is “really replacing structures that were here, but were torn down in the 1900’s. The structure is probably bigger, but with the same footprint.” The new wing of the museum was designed and constructed by Bryan Black, of Eastlake, and his company B Legrand Design Build, LTD.
Museum board member, Gwen Stegall, said the addition is “just beautiful. The museum is really an important part, a good part of Ashtabula’s history, and no one knows it’s here.”
“I didn’t know about it as a child,” she said. “I didn’t know until I was grown, and I used to walk by it on the way to Walnut Beach all the time.”
Stegall said once she got involved with the Hubbard House, she found out what a huge part of forming the nation slaves played. She said it showed that there were people who weren’t evil to slaves. “That’s what life is all about: people helping people,” she said.
Music for the reception was provided by Northeasterly Winds Woodwind Quintet. Oboe player, Kathy Zetts said, “We appreciate being invited to play. It’s a beautiful addition. It was a nice event.”
The museum is located at the corner of Lake Ave. and Walnut Blvd. and is open Friday through Sunday, 1-5 p.m., from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day weekend.