Tyler history center project gets boost with $750K in gifts from 3 foundations

Staff report


The Mahoning Valley Historical Society has received three major gifts from foundations totaling $750,000, which will be used toward creation of the Tyler Mahoning Valley History Center.

The Andrews, Beecher and Hynes foundations, which are managed by Huntington Bank’s trust department, have pledged a combined total of $750,000. The gifts bring the fundraising campaign to $4.6 million of its $6 million goal.

“The history center campaign is the largest, most-significant endeavor the historical society has ever undertaken,” said David Sabine, head of Huntington’s trust department and MVHS board president. “The trustees of these three foundations felt that the center was important enough to make a major commitment of support.”

The regional history museum will be housed in the Burt Building on West Federal Street downtown, which is undergoing a complete renovation.

The MVHS purchased the building in 2008 and immediately began the renovation project, which is now 75 percent complete.

In the 1920s, the Burt Building, 325 W. Federal St., across from the Western Reserve Transit Authority bus station, housed Burt’s confectionery shop. Owner Harry Burt created the famous Good Humor ice-cream bar there.

Portions of the building will be named in honor of the three new donors.

The John S. and Doris M. Andrews Memorial Fund donated $250,000 to the project. The main entry foyer/admissions area will be named the Andrews Assembly Area. The 620-square-foot area will provide guests with an open space to begin their visit.

The Ward Beecher Foundation, which also donated $250,000, will receive naming rights to the north and south stairways and elevator towers. Located on the center’s east side, the Beecher Towers were a solution for meeting handicap-accessibility requirements without altering any interior elements or ruining the building’s historical integrity, according to the historical society. The enclosed towers will offer visitors a panoramic view of the city through a three-story vertical panel of windows.

The John F. and Loretta A. Hynes Foundation also gave $250,000. The center’s mezzanine level, which will feature a 680-square-foot space, will be named for that foundation. As an extension of the Thomas Ballroom located on the second floor, the Hynes Mezzanine will serve as a gathering lounge for guests who rent the facility for family or community events. For museum purposes, the Hynes Mezzanine will contain portable exhibits that can be moved or stored as needed.

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