Fairlawn seeks sign of changeThe staff at Superior Public Museums is seeking a sign of support as they lean toward replacing the current marquee for Fairlawn Mansion.
By: Maria Lockwood, Superior Telegram
The staff at Superior Public Museums is seeking a sign of support as they lean toward replacing the current marquee for Fairlawn Mansion.
“It’s definitely time,” said Sarah Blanck, director of Superior Public Museums (SPM). The wood covering the underlying 80s era metal structure is rotten and the sign itself looks tipsy from the side, although a city inspection found it was sound enough to tilt indefinitely.
“The lean is stellar,” Blanck said. “It’s also broken.”
A massive restoration project completed in 1999 returned the exterior of the 42-room Queen Anne Victorian to its original splendor, but overlooked the sign.
“It has often been brought to our attention that Fairlawn’s sign detracts from the beauty of the site and does not compliment the historic structure,” said Judith Liebaert, marketing coordinator for SPM.
A capital campaign to raise the funds needed for a new sign — about $40,000 — kicks off Oct. 20 at Fairlawn Mansion, 906 E. Second St. complete with kids’ games and music by local band The Bugs. SPM already has $12,000 put aside for the new marker, as well as a design for how it will look. Trends Day Spa & Salon raised about $4,000 of that years ago during the business’ first two Black & White Affair events.
“Every time I go by there I think, ‘Boy, they need a new sign,’” said Julie Nelson, owner of Trends. She said she was surprised to hear that the money they’d earmarked for the sign five years ago was still set aside.
“I knew they would use the money properly,” Nelson said. “It’s been so long I thought they would use it on something else.”
An additional $8,000 came from SPM’s share of a recent increase in the hotel/motel tax.
“Our board decided we wanted to put it toward something visible, tangible that would deal with tourism in the area,” Blanck said.
The design for the new marquee will be similar to the city signs under construction at the base of the Blatnik Bridge and the intersection of East Second and Belknap streets, Blanck said. But the exterior stone or building blocks will correspond to the color of the mansion.
The kick-off event takes place from noon to 3 p.m. Oct. 20, ending just before the Green Bay Packers kick off at 3:30 p.m. A $5 donation is requested per person
“You could consider it tailgating,” Blanck said. Visitors can enjoy a hot dog, chips and pop, beer, live music and activities. And they can get up close and personal with the Fairlawn sign to see its condition for themselves.
Staff are also seeking information on when the current sign was planted. Research indicates it was built between 1983 and 1988. Anyone with information can contact the museum at 715-394-5712 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Each year, Trends staff decide where the funds from their signature Black & White Affair will go. This year, they will go to stomp out bullying in the Superior school district. The Black & White Affair, this year with a splash of orange, will be held from 6-9 p.m. Oct. 25 at Barkers Island Inn. Only 200 tickets are sold for the event, which will include hors d’oeuvres, service sampling, wine and beer samples and entertainment by a Superior Elvis impersonator. For more information or tickets, drop by Trends at 823 Belknap St., Suite 119.