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The John R. Park Homestead has been welcoming visitors as a museum and conservation area since 1978. This unique 19 acre property on the shore of Lake Erie is used extensively to provide experiential, curriculum-connected outdoor STEAM education programs for students; it attracts tourists to our area and it preserves and interprets the history of our region for nearly 20,000 visitors annually.

But, these nearly 200 year-old buildings require extensive restoration work to ensure that they will be maintained for decades to come. While the connection to Lake Erie is one of the most extraordinary experiences available at the Homestead, it also exposes the historic building to its wicked storms, leading to deterioration of these precious pieces of our shared history.

Homestead deterioration
The Homestead

Save the Homestead

The wooden eavestroughs need extensive repair and in some cases, replacement. A critical element of this work is to ensure the historic home is protected from water damage.

Most alarming is the fragile state of the roof rafters that urgently require replacement. Extensive historic powder-post beetle damage has threatened the structural stability of the museum’s roof, resulting in a significant roof sag and requiring immediate action. This repair will involve jacking up the roof and inserting new support beams while ensuring the protection of the precious artifacts within the home, and is the top priority to ensure its stability.

Following this work, substantial interior plaster reconstruction will be needed, as well as interior and exterior painting. Extensive structural and repair work is also required to each of the eleven additional outbuildings that comprise the Homestead campus. There are challenges in addressing repairs to a heritage structure. Construction method used in 1842 don’t meet with current building code standards, but the repairs to the Homestead are urgently needed, to ensure it can be protected forever.

Generations of visitors love the John R. Park Homestead. How many family photos have been taken in front of the iconic horse barn? How many shoulders have the maple syrup yokes sat upon? How many children have watched with amazement as the blacksmith shaped iron over the red-hot fire?  How many families have sat on the porch overlooking Lake Erie, just like the Park family did nearly two centuries ago? 

We need your help to protect and preserve these invaluable resources, and ensure the next generations have these same memory-making opportunities.   

The Homestead needs your help now to ensure it is preserved for the future.  

Homestead deterioration

The historic home is the most precious original artifact in the Homestead’s collection, and the centerpiece of the site’s education programming. The eleven outbuildings that comprise the Park family’s homestead are all part of the story of life in the 1850s and help bring the experience to life. 

Built on the shores of Lake Erie and vulnerable to its wicked storms and relentless weather events, these buildings require skillful repair and detailed repainting in a manner consistent with their historical significance.  The historic home of John R. Park will require extensive restoration in many areas, including significant foundation work and repairs to all three chimneys. Numerous windows require replacement and repairs are required to the doors.

The Park Family's Homestead

More about the Essex Region Conservation Foundation:

Help restore the Park Family home to its original glory – ensuring the stories of our past can be preserved and shared for another two centuries!

Ps – Love it? Protect it forever! A gift in your will can have a tremendous impact in ensuring the Homestead will be here for people to love and learn from for generations to come. Want to learn more? Contact us at

Your Gift Will Help Complete These Urgent Repairs.

A comprehensive architectural review has been undertaken and we know in detail all the work required to ensure the Homestead can be protected and preserved. But, nearly $1.5 million of work is required to the twelve buildings that comprise of the John R. Park Homestead Conservation Area, with over $700,000 needed immediately.  

Thanks to reserve funds and gifts from generous donors like you, some of the most urgent restoration work began in October, while the Essex Region Conservation Foundation raises the rest of the funds needed to complete all of the required work. We need your help to ensure the Homestead is protected long into the future.  Every dollar matters, and your donation will make a big difference in helping restore the Homestead!

Your Help is Urgently Needed

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