The Chandler homestead used in the filming of "A Painted House" is being reconstructed at the Hallmark Hall of Fame National Headquarters on Crown Center in Kansas City.
The house will be on public display from April 18 through May 11. Visitors will only be allowed to tour the exterior of the home while it is on display. The first public viewing of the movie "A Painted House" will be aired April 27 on the CBS network.
The world premiere of the movie was held at Riceland Hall on the Arkansas State University campus in Jonesboro on April 14. The film will be available for purchase in June at Hallmark stores.
Lepanto Mayor Dale Dunlap told the Citizens for Progress Committee that Hallmark Hall of Fame had formally given the house to the city of Lepanto for dismantling and removal, after the May 11 exhibition was completed.
The committee continues to meet monthly to formulate plans to bring the house back to Lepanto and put it on permanent display.
James and Doris Pounders traveled to Kansas City earlier this month to watch and photograph the unpacking and reassembling of the house on the Crown Center lot. They talked with Jeff Schlatter, who was in charge of construction and dismantling the house on the Clarkedale site north of Marion during the filming.
"They had everything labeled like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle," Mrs. Pounders said. "They unpacked it and laid each piece on the ground. They carefully put it back together. They used screws to attach the pieces this time so we wouldn't tear it apart trying to get it taken down to bring back to Lapanto.
"They are giving us the outdoor props, the rocking chairs, benches, signs, tents, mattresses, beds, etc. for use in the Lepanto display. They have been so generous to us and act like they really want to see this house put on a permanent display."
"We have $7,564 in our treasury now, committee secretary Patsy McClain said. "We are planning another bake sale for Saturday, April 19, to help raise more money for the trip to Kansas City and the fees for transporting the house."
"There is a lot of interest in the house," Marie Dunlap said. "We do not have all the details worked out yet, as this is a big endeavor."
Betty Sharp of Lee's Summit, Mo., knows firsthand about the interest in the project, as the Lepanto website, that she established and maintains, received 1,505 hits last week alone. The website is www.lepantoaralumni.com
Ms. Sharp has posted "A Painted House" photos on the Lepanto website and visitors haven't wasted any time finding out about them. She is a 1956 Lepanto High School graduate and is very interested in maintaining alumni relations and historial records for Lepanto. The website shows an outstanding effort.
"My niece, Ginger Holland Haydon, showed me how to do a website, and we worked for hours setting up the City of Lepanto and Lepanto Alumni websites," Ms. Sharp said. "I enjoy working on the project, to hear from people wanting to know about Lepanto and to keep adding new pictures to the site."
When Mrs. Sharp heard about the citizens group wanting the painted house, she contacted Ellen Nesselrode, with the Hallmark Hall of Fame, in Kansas City and asked about the possibility of Lepanto obtaining the house. The two have since struck up a friendship, corresponding and exchanging data and photographs.
Nesselrode acted on Lepanto's behalf, asking for permission to give the house to the City. Mayor Dunlap soon received confirmation of the gift to the City of Lepanto.
After the Pounders returned home, Mrs. Pounders, her husband Benny and son Mike continued visiting the site to document and photograph the reconstruction of the house, in order to help with the future assembly in Lepanto.
"One of the main problems we have right now, other than transport, is where we are going to store the house until a site can be secured," Mrs. Dunlap said. "We feel there is someone out there who has space for us to store the pieces of the house until plans can be finalized."
"Our committee discussed places for storage during our April meeting," Secretary McClain said. "We do not have a permanent site yet, either. We need help from the community on this."
"We are just acting on faith that someone will reach out and help us on this," Ms. Pounders said. "If we have come this far and worked this hard, we just know there is a place for us to store the parts of the house, and there is someone who will help us. There just has to be."
The committee members are making a plea for anyone who knows where the pieces of the house can be stored, until they are reconstructed on a permanent site, to call Lepanto City Hall at (870) 475-2415 or any member of the Citizens for Progress Committee.