Public invited to tour downtown building during Oktoberfest

The Seymour Museum Center is planning to be open the Saturday of Oktoberfest to allow visitors to see the progress being made at the old federal building downtown.

Two of the front rooms on the first floor are renovated and work is ongoing to transform the building at the corner of Chestnut and Third streets into a city museum to highlight and share the city’s past.

On Monday, museum President Lenny Hauersperger met with the Seymour Redevelopment Commission to request funding to fix the building’s roof.

Hauersperger said the roof is leaking in three places, preventing more work from being done in the museum’s big showroom.

The completed renovation will feature three floors, a gift shop, educational classroom space and exhibits covering more than 9,000 square feet of space.

Design goals for the interior of the building are to house an artifact collection composed of model trains and local railroad memorabilia, the Welch telephone collection, which was donated to the city, and exhibits related to the historic figures of Seymour, early settlers, music, arts and crafts, natural wildlife and history of local industry.

There also are plans for a cafe and a multipurpose room for the public to use.

The project is estimated to cost around $3 million.

Built in 1918 with neoclassical architecture and Bedford limestone, the building has served as the city’s first post office, city hall and the Seymour police station.

In 1995, the building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The redevelopment commission agreed to pay $13,135 to Royalty Roofing of Seymour to replace the middle section of the roof, which covers about half of the building, Hauersperger said.

That amount is lower than the original quote, Hauersperger said, because Royalty agreed to come down in price since the museum is a nonprofit organization.

The new roof will be a huge improvement and will have a 15-year warranty, Hauersperger said.

In the past, W.J. Abraham & Sons Inc. General Contractors would help by fixing the roof at no charge because business owner Louis Abraham Jr. was a big supporter of the museum, Hauersperger said.

The business closed after the death of Louis Abraham earlier this year.

Commission President Mike Jordan said fixing the roof is important to the museum’s future.

“If you don’t fix it, it’s going to undo everything you’ve done,” he told Hauersperger.

The commission has provided funding to the museum in the past, most recently to restore windows.

Commissioner Mark Dennis asked if the entire roof should be replaced instead of just a portion of it.

Hauersperger said he didn’t think that was necessary because the rest of the roof isn’t in bad shape, he said.

One expense the museum will have in the near future is installing an elevator to make the building handicap accessible. Hauersperger said the elevator will cost upwards of $60,000.

Much of the demolition and remodeling work so far in the museum has been done by volunteers, including the museum committee, Boy Scouts and other community groups.

[sc:pullout-title pullout-title=”At a glance” ][sc:pullout-text-begin]

Anyone wanting to volunteer at the Seymour Museum Center can call Lenny Hauersperger at 812-530-9272.

Donations can be made online at or checks can be mailed to Seymour Museum Inc., 220 N. Chestnut St., P.O. Box 1138, Seymour, IN 47274.