Staff of Hilton Grand Vacations Club photo for a photo before a volunteer work day at Spencer House on Oct. 9. (PHOTO COURTESY OF PAUL JOHNSTON FOR NHN)
Staff of Hilton Grand Vacations Club help paint during a volunteer workday on Oct. 9. (PHOTO COURTESY OF PAUL JOHNSTON FOR NHN)
An employee of Hilton Grand Vacations Club paints on a ladder during a workday at Spencer House in Waimea on Oct. 9. Staff did a variety of jobs including tearing down walls, repairs and cleaning.(PHOTO COURTESY OF PAUL JOHNSTON FOR NHN)
At 3 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 3, all of Waimea and friends from other parts of the island are invited to a celebratory blessing of the more than 160-year-old Historic Spencer House, located in the center of town next to McDonalds.
The Waimea Preservation Association, which raised more than $50,000 in a grassroots community effort, signed a lease for the building on Oct. 1, and is proceeding with community-wide use plans for one of Waimea’s oldest, and most historically and architecturally significant buildings.
At the event, Danny Kaniela Akaka will chant a traditional Hawaiian blessing, accompanied by Spencer family members – some of whom still own the home – and community friends. Everyone is invited to attend this brief Sunday afternoon celebration that will include light refreshments and also a walk-through to see the recent work already accomplished.
On Oct. 9, more than 50 volunteers from Hilton Grand Vacations Club spent the day rejuvenating the interior of the home. HGVC operates three vacation ownership properties in Waikoloa Resort and the staff, mostly from housekeeping and maintenance, chose to donate hundreds of hours of time and expertise last week to renovate the interior of Spencer House, which needed some serious work after sitting empty for nearly three years. Their “gift” was part of Hilton Worldwide’s Second Annual Global Week of Service “to strengthen the company’s connections with its communities.”
The HGVC crew, led by General Manager Rob Gunthner, arrived early on the workday, armed with carpet steam cleaners, tools, cleaning fluids, paint brushes and rollers, and about 40 gallons of paint donated by Sherman Williams. About halfway through the morning, they realized they needed a giant dumpster to take away old partitions, dilapidated window coverings, yards of old phone and data wire, deteriorated carpet and much more.
Stubborn windows that hadn’t opened in years were gently pried open and repaired. Hundreds of staples holding old wiring in place were removed. Holes in the walls were spackled. Windows were washed and a fresh coat of paint was applied throughout.
Other less noticeable work also has been in progress, ranging from a formal “home inspection” completed by Alex Woodbury, to researching security alarm systems and high speed Internet service, and securing liability insurance.
Plans are now in motion to implement three diverse yet complementary ideas for the house’s use that have bubbled up repeatedly in hundreds of conversations with community members.
First, the “new” Spencer House will include a Welcome Center to share Waimea’s rich history and many current attractions and events with visitors and residents. The second feature will dedicate a portion of Spencer House to serve as a community gathering place for meetings, events and talk-stories. The third part of the plan is an innovation center, open office concept similar to those that have become so popular on the mainland and in Honolulu.
For more information, to learn about leasing space or otherwise using Historic Spencer House, or to donate, call Johnston at 938-4540, or email PEJ1000@aol.com. Also, to keep in tune with Spencer House as the project progresses, “like” us on Facebook and plan to attend the Nov.3 blessing at 3 p.m.