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Fish fry fundraiser held for historic house
Black House Fish Fry.jpg
Volunteers Marvin and Henrietta Lusk were all smiles Saturday while frying up fish for the annual fundraiser to benefit the Black House. - photo by Lacy Garrison

It was a chance to tour McMinnville’s oldest home and grab a plate of fried fish at The Black House on Saturday.

According to Black House director Jeanette Lowery, there were 160 fish plates served and just over 80 tours given.

“The majority who took the tour and went through had never gone through before,” said Lowery. “Most people were amazed at the condition and how the home hasn’t changed that much.”

The home, located at 301 West Main Street, was built in 1825. Dr. Thomas Black, for whom the house is named, lived there from 1874 to 1904.

Of Dr. Black’s 11 children, daughter Suzanna bought out the others and became sole owner of the home. When the Great Depression hit, Suzanna made the east side of the house into an apartment to help make financial ends meet. She continued to live on the west side.

Suzanna’s daughter Jean Leonard was the last person to live in the house. She lived there on a part-time basis until 1983, Lowery said.

The home was deeded to the Eagle Club in 1984, with Lowery supervising its restoration and maintenance since that time. As for annual operating expenses, that fluctuates.

“Things go wrong from time to time, just like any house,” said Lowery. “It depends on what goes wrong as to how much it costs to maintain it. Last year some of the foundation had to be rebuilt.”

Lowery said Saturday’s fish fry was nearly a sell-out. The pieces of fish that remained were taken to Beersheba Towers for residents to enjoy.