The Alice Maud Hills Preservation Fund was started in 2005 as a way for our membership and friends of the club to donate funds to maintain the Hills Memorial House, our clubhouse.
The Hills Memorial House was built for Leonard Mariner Hills who moved to Amherst in 1827. He ran a tavern and a dry goods store and eventually became very successful manufacturing palm leaf hats. He also became the first president of the First National Bank of Amherst in 1864. In the 1840s to 1860s, Hills built a complex of factories in Amherst. His son, Henry F. Hills, built a house off Main Street in 1863. Leonard decided to hire the same architect, William Fenno Pratt, to design his own Italian Villa home, built in 1863-1864 on the adjoining lot (35 Triangle Street). It is said that he ordered the house, which was called the Hedges, to be one foot larger than his son’s in every dimension. The Hills family owned the house until 1923, when a bequest of Mrs. Alice M. Hills left it to the Amherst Woman's Club. It is now known as the Hills Memorial Club House.1
This year the Town of Amherst awarded a Community Preservation ACT (CPA) grant to the Amherst Woman's Club of $135,000 for the restoration and preservation of the Hills Memorial Clubhouse. The restoration includes restoring section on the exterior of the house and a new coat of paint for the whole building.
Past renovations and restorations of the house have been funded by fundraising efforts of the Amherst Woman's Club members. Below is a list of some of the most recent restoration projects:
2021-2022 Rebuilding of front balcony, fixing rotted outside walls, railing and adding new seal covering the floor.
2017-2018 Renovation of the library and dining room. Including new wiring to rebuild the plaster molding, refinishing the wood floors, refurbishing and/or adding new light fixtures, repainting and new wallpaper.
2016-2017 Renovation of the living room and entryway.
2015 Renovation of the upstairs landing, tearing out old plywood storage cabinets and renewing the walls and woodwork.
2014 Brought in gas, put in ‘on demand’ hot water heaters that also provided heat for the house. This system made it possible to add ducts in the basement and provide AC for the downstairs public rooms. We also brought in a new electric line to handle the AC load and put in an all new electric panel. The basement was waterproofed and sealed. New copper water lines were added to bring the old water system up to code. The basic infrastructure was revamped.
Your donations help keep this beautiful home in good condition and available for many to enjoy.