Tahlequah Daily Press

Local News

July 18, 2012

Volunteers brainstorm on ideas for Thompson House

TAHLEQUAH — The historic Thompson House reminds visitors of a simpler time. When it is used for events like a reception or wedding, volunteers say it glows with happiness and life.

Monday evening, several volunteers gathered to discuss regular events – like the annual Victorian Christmas, contracts for special occasions ways to raise money to maintain the structure.

One conversation began with revising the contract for weddings, then moved to why the house so successful as a place to hold a wedding.

“Weddings here are elegant, affordable, and they can use the whole house,” said Beth Herrington, who has served twice as Thompson House Board president and is a board member.

“It’s a nice venue for small, intimate weddings, indoors or outdoors,” said board member Ann Lancaster.

Volunteer Xan Bryant believes the grounds and interior of the home provide a nice backdrop for photos.

Fundraisers pay for everything from utilities to maintenance on the house. The home was recently repainted.

“Previous to the paint job, we raised half of the money, and the other half came from our general funds,” Herrington said. “We want to recoup some of the money back for our general fund.”

Regular donors help keep costs down.

Lancaster suggested setting up a calendar of events by season, and  the whole group agreed it would help them with organization.

According to Bryant, the group has also started a newsletter, and is preparing the second one. The Thompson House board has also embraced social media, starting a Facebook page.

New ideas were introduced for discussion.

“You all may not like this, but what about a group yard sale the weekend of the Cherokee National Holiday?” Lancaster said. “We could rent space for $20 and do publicity. And sell lemonade on the porch.”

“We have the best corner in town,” said Jim Wilson, new treasurer for the group. “We could put sandwich-board signs outside and advertise it.”

If approved by the board, the event would be held outside on the Saturday morning of the holiday weekend.

Space could be available on a first-come, first-served basis, when they pay, said Herrington.

The group also discussed the Victorian Christmas event, the main fundraiser of the year.

Paula Burris said when she was chairwoman of the event, she visited several other venues, like an Affair of the Heart in Tulsa, to get ideas and look for vendors.

“We should look for a better way of doing things, and not do it the same way every year,” Lancaster said.

The group also discussed the problem last year with several items being stolen.

“It’s important to keep track of bookkeeping,” Herrington said.

Inetta Soontay suggested hosting “A Ladies Day,” with pampering, make-up and a fashion show.

Soontay, a retired nurse, said she volunteers because she enjoys the people and the history.

Charleen Collins, another retired RN, likes being involved with preserving the historical home.

Other fundraising ideas included selling chances for a dinner for eight at the Thompson House, which would be a mystery dinner theater with actors or those at the dinner being the players in the mystery; a Mother’s Day tea with a fashion show; and a Derby Day social event to coincide with the Kentucky Derby the first Saturday in May.

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