Hillcrest Children’s Home resurrected

Submitted photo | Daily Times Steve Gibson, of Portsmouth invested an incredible amount of time, money and effort in constructing a replica of the former Hillcrest Children’s Home which was first built in Wheelersburg in 1921.

Submitted photo | Daily Times Left to right: Rose Mowery, coordinator of the annual Hillcrest Children’s Home reunion, and Steve Gibson who accepted the challenge of constructing a replica of the former Hillcrest Children’s Home which was first built in Wheelersburg in 1921.

Submitted photo | Daily Times Replica of the former Hillcrest Children’s Home, which was located in Wheelersburg in 1921. The replica is on display for public viewing at the Welcome Center in Portsmouth.

The Hillcrest Children’s Home (HCH), which was located in Wheelersburg in 1921, has been replicated, and will be on display at the Welcome Center in Portsmouth for all to see. The projected is a dream come true for former HCH resident, Rose Mowery.

Rose Mowery resided at the Hillcrest Children’s Home as a little child and currently serves as the coordinator for the annual Hillcrest Children’s Home reunion. Mowery said she has dreamed of having a replica of the Hillcrest Children’s Home, which holds so many precious childhood memories for her for a long time.

“For a long time it has been my desire to have a scale model of the former Children’s Home. With the upcoming Reunion of the former residents of the Children’s Home, I thought how fitting it would be to have such a recreation to display with the history of Hillcrest at the Scioto County Welcome Center,” Mowery said. ” So in March I decided to pursue this dream by posting an inquiry for someone who could build a dollhouse size replica of a house on a realistic level to social media. Little would I know that long time friend, Lisa Gibson would be the one to respond. After reading my post, Lisa turned to her husband, Steve to see if he might be up to the challenge.”

Steve Gibson accepted the challenge to construct a replica of HCH. He said it was a major undertaking.

“It was definitely a major undertaking for me. I have always been an artistic type of person, but this was the first time that I have ever tried to do something like this,” Gibson said. “I spent nine weeks and hundreds of hours just trying to get this project complete.”

Gibson said the project is all about those who were a part of HCH, and not himself.

“This project has very special meaning to all of the people who were involved with the Hillcrest Children’s Home, and that is what it is all about,” Gibson said. “Really, my part was just a small thing that helped bring that to life, and really, truly because of the people that had something to do with it. “

Gibson took responsibility for purchasing all of the materials needed for the project.

“I ended up donating all of the materials for this in it’s entirety. It costed me somewhere close to $1,000 dollars,” Gibson said. “When I first started with it I didn’t expect it to get that high, but it did and I was already committed. All of the brick that is on the model house is actually real brick, it is just miniaturized. The bricks had to be set, and each one painted and toned. It was definitely an undertaking, and I am just glad that I was able to do my part and get it into the Welcome Center for them.”

Mowery said Gibson captured the spirit of HCH through sheer craftsmanship and remarkable talent.

“Being a true craftsman with impeccable talent, dedication and relentless determination to do his very best, Steve put in many long days and late nights of hard work,” Mowery said. “Steve meticulously resurrected the Children’s Home not only to scale, but by cutting and laying the bricks individually, which he hand painted to capture the look of the building as well as installing the grout between the bricks, and by going as far as constructing the roof with individually positioned shingles, which he also hand painted. The house measures about 7 inches wide so it was built in three sections making it easier to transport.”

Gibson said she was awestruck by her first look at the HCH replica work of Gibson.

“On July 10th I got a look at the first completed piece, which was the middle section or the main entrance to the Home. Needless to say, I was completely blown away by the detail provided in the construction of this beautiful heirloom as well as the way he managed to capture the spirit of Hillcrest,” Mowery said.

Gibson presented Mowery with the completed project on Aug. 3, 2016, at which time we they transported the special piece of artwork directly to the Scioto County Welcome Center where it is currently on display. Mowery said it is a true keepsake.

“Words could never express the gratitude I feel for Steve’s efforts and generosity. Steve and Lisa’s generosity doesn’t begin there,” Mowery said. ” In 2010 my husband was diagnosed with stage IV Cancer. They were among those that were truly there for us at such a crucial point in our lives. It’s not everyday you meet two people with such kind and caring hearts. The Gibsons will always remain dear to my family. We have been truly blessed.”

The Scioto County Welcome Center and The Portsmouth-Scioto County Visitors Bureau will be open special hours for the Hillcrest CHildren’s Home Reunion on Saturday, Aug. 20, 2016, from 9 a.m, to 6 p.m. as well as their regular hours of Monda through-Friday, 8 a.m.to 5 p.m.

Reach Portia Williams at 740-353-3101, ext. 1929, or on Twitter @PortiaWillPDT.