In Daytona Beach, Florida sits the very house from which South Carolina-born Mary McLeod Bethune, the daughter of slaves, executed a revolutionary idea -- establishing a college for Negro women in 1904 that developed into what is now Bethune-Cookman University’s foundation. The renowned educator, feminist and civil rights advocate was a woman ahead of her time.
Preserved since her 1955 death, the Mary McLeod Bethune house is a well-toured museum on the National Historic Registry, but with funding scarce for upkeep, maintenance has lagged, and the house has seen better days. Now, thanks to Greenville-based MOA Architecture, a full-service architectural, interiors and planning firm, the house is soon to be restored.
MOA is a Black-owned company, with more than 45 years of combined experience on a wide range of project types. Rare among architecture firms, MOA has been a favorite of HBCUs and other institutions seeking to preserve historic structures. Company founder Michael Allen is helping Bethune-Cookman find and secure funding to return the Bethune House it to its original grandeur.
The Bethune House is a National Treasure
A gorgeous and unique four-bedroom American Foursquare house, the Bethune mansion features stunning hardwood floors and stained-glass windows, and exquisite features like handmade trim and one-of-a-kind fixtures on the inside. The envelope of the house, though, is in need of structural repair after 67 years. The roof is leaking, the front porch is warped, the foundation is sinking and causing the floors to slope, and the chimney is unsecured on the outside of the building. Without attention, the structural integrity of the home is at risk.
It's a complex project requiring a deft touch. Decaying windows and siding must be reproduced as faithfully to the original as possible. Milled wood must be rebuilt with care. The handmade trim that requires replacing must exactly match the unique designs remaining. It will be a painstaking process, but the results will be spectacular.
The restoration will likely take many months. MOA has already conducted a soil review and building scan to determine why the house is sinking. Next it will have to lift the house, rebuild the foundation and fix any cracks that result.
For Michael Allen and his team, this is a labor of love. “I know she did so much for my advancement and my career and life by helping change education for African Americans,” he said.
MOA Works with Passion
In fact, MOA is known for bringing that same passion to all its projects, whether office buildings, athletic facilities or the local hardware store. The firm makes a point of getting to know their clients, building relationships and learning about their client’s vision before embarking on their projects. They spend time assessing their clients’ level of architecture and construction knowledge so they can meet them where they are. In cases where the client does not have familiarity with construction, the firm can also serve as the client’s representative and manage the construction project.
In their more than 100 projects to date, MOA has always focused on the collaborative aspect of the work, involving their clients every step of the way, from concept through construction completion, solving problems together.
For more information about what MOA can do for your company, visit MOAarc.com or call (864) 777-3023.