BILLY ROBACK, representing the Perry Historical Society, stands in front of the nearly restored Calkins-MacQueen Home and Museum in Perry on Monday morning, Sept. 27. The house is over 140-years old and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. After many months of effort by the Perry Historical Society, the city of Perry and community supporters, the historic home has returned to its gracefully elegant roots.

   This exterior view highlights the new paint and the carefully restored, original shutters. The shutters were located in the basement and are in surprisingly good shape. The deep red color of the shutters and the neutral tone of the house were chosen for historical accuracy to the era when the house was constructed. For many recent years, the house was painted a bold yellow.

(Independent Photo/Karen Mead-Elford)


    Restoration on the Calkins-MacQueen Home and Museum in Perry is nearing completion after months of thoughtful consideration regarding the history of the building. The Perry Historical Society, a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving the Calkins-MacQueen Home and celebrating Perry area history, has been deeply involved in the renovation process.

   The house was built in 1878, serving as the family home of Charles Calkins. Later, his daughter, Bessie, and her husband, Alexander MacQueen, took on the house. The building remained in the family until Bessie died in 1941. At that time, it was willed to the city of Perry. In 1974, the Perry Historical Society decided to turn the home into a museum. After several decades of involvement, the group reached out to the city for financial assistance because the building was in need of some fairly extensive repairs. The city eventually agreed, allocating $6,000 for roof repairs – and the restoration started to forge ahead, particularly as community support and private donations came forward to help escalate the project along.

   As of Monday, Sept. 27, many of the first-floor room walls and ceilings have been re-plastered and repainted. Prior, old wallpaper from roughly the 1970s had been in place – damaged from years of sun and moisture. New paint colors were chosen to represent the era of the home. The kitchen is now a soft, golden yellow with white trim. An earthy red tone highlights a small parlor room on the east side. A front parlor is done in dove gray and white, which shows off the architectural features of the room. Brass light fixtures have been taken down, refurbished and put back up and soon the floors will be repainted – a deep brown – both practical and less expensive than some options. The floors will eventually display the rugs and furnishings the historical society currently has stored.

   Billy Robeck of the Perry Historical Society offered many details about the renovation project during a Monday morning discussion. He explained that the group is grateful for all of the local support, so likewise, has been careful to return that support to local businesses such as Keetch Electric, Perry Plumbing, contractor Mike Godfrey, Painting Unlimited of Shaftsburg, Jacobs Plaster of Owosso, Wins Electric and others, who have helped the project along.

   “It’s been a community project from the get go,” Robeck offered. “Anybody coming to work here is usually local.”

   The Perry Historical Society has a new website at People interested in volunteering, donating or becoming a member can find information online or by mailing the Perry Historical Society at P.O. Box 133, Perry, MI 48872. The group also has a Facebook page, for those that use social media. To find out further information, call Robeck at (575) 499-6213. He shared that packets can be mailed to interested persons who either don’t have or prefer to avoid the internet.

   Robeck and his wife, Monica will be at the Calkins-MacQueen Home on Halloween to hand out candy to trick-or-treaters from the porch. Another event in the planning, depending on COVID-19 numbers, is the annual Christmas wreath sale.

Calkins-MacQueen Home and Museum Returns to Historic Grace was last modified: October 5th, 2021 by Karen Elford