Drilling for energy at EHC.       Photo courtesy of EHC

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The Evanston History Center (EHC) launched a project this month for the installation of a geothermal heating and cooling system at the Charles Gates Dawes House, 225 Greenwood St., an 1896 mansion once home to U.S. Vice President Charles Gates Dawes.

Geothermal energy is renewable and sustainable, as well as more economical than traditional systems. The geothermal system will provide a safer climate for the conservation of the center’s extensive collection of historical artifacts, costumes, books and papers. It will also provide heating and air-conditioning, for the year-round comfort of volunteers, visitors and staff. 

“We are working with a wonderful team of architects, engineers and contractors who have extensive experience in integrating new technologies with historic structures,” Kris Hartzell, EHC director of visitor services and facilities, said. “They appreciate both the value of this beautiful building and the impact that change and innovation can have on historic materials. We are so pleased to have the benefit of their expertise and knowledge on this project.”

While work is being completed, the Evanston History Center will be open for tours and events, but there may be some occasional brief closures or circumscribed services. These will try to be kept at a minimum, and all closures will be announced beforehand. 

“We are all excited about this project,” said Eden Juron Pearlman, EHC executive director. “It has been a long time coming, and we are so proud that we will finally be able to create a climate-controlled environment for our collections and also better serve the public. To be able to do all this while reducing our environmental impact is fantastic.” 

Ms. Hartzell will present “A Poem in Brick and Stone (Part II),” an illustrated lecture documenting the work being done at the Dawes House at an “Under the Buffalo” talk in November.