Historic Georgetown Shotgun House could be open to public more often, pending new agreement

The historic Shotgun House is located at 801 West St., Georgetown.

The historic Shotgun House is located at 801 West St., Georgetown.

The historic “Shotgun House”—built between 1920 and 1930—educates the public on a piece of Georgetown history.

The home, located at 801 West St., is a prime example of what is often referred to as a "shotgun house": a narrow residence with rooms one behind the other such that a bullet fired through the front door would go right out the back, Library Services Director Eric Lashley said.

At the Oct. 22 workshop, Georgetown City Council members discussed the operating agreement between the city and the Georgetown Cultural Citizen Memorial Association for the Shotgun House. The current agreement expires January 25, and staffers are recommending a new one.

The city purchased the property in 1996 and opened it as a museum in 2002 following a 2001 restoration project. Repairs to the Shotgun House were completed in 2016, according to the city’s website.

For the new agreement, the GCCMA proposed taking responsibility for utilities, housekeeping and insurance. The organization would provide an annual report to council.

President Paulette Taylor said she hopes to have the house open more often, including during Red Poppy Festival, Black History Month and Juneteenth. Taylor also pitched creating an informational display table for visitors to learn about the site when the house is closed.

The group asked the city to take responsibility for landscaping and for the upkeep of the exterior of the building. Several council members said the city should also absorb the costs of handling trash and utilities to allow the GCCMA to focus funds on showing and preserving the house.

Taylor said adding a permanent unisex restroom near the house is another wish of the GCCMA, especially now that they plan to have the home open more often.

Though officials have said restroom facilities in nearby city buildings can be used during programing, Taylor said the GCCMA does not want the responsibility of policing people going in and out of those buildings.

In addition, Mayor Dale Ross asked Lashley and Taylor to come back with information about the feasibility of installing a fire suppression system at the Shotgun House to further protect it.

The item was for discussion only, and the new agreement will be up for approval in January. The agreement would last four years with an option to renew for three additional two-year periods, for a total of ten years, Lashley said.
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