By Ed Martin, Editor

The Meyer Ranch House, a local historical home that has withstood the onslaught of time, may be getting a new lease on life, that is if members of the Sarah Mooney Museum Board of Directors get their way.

The Meyer Ranch House is currently located at 558 West “D” Street, next door to the Mooney Museum and it was originally used as part of the Transitional Housing Program for aged-out foster youth the City of Lemoore and Kings County Housing Authority agreed to house in 2000. The city moved the house from its location on Hanford Armona Road to its current site.

The home was used for many years as transitional housing for foster kids who turned 18 and needed a place to stay. The multi-agency Transitional Housing Committee officially ended the Transitional Housing Program in 2009.

At that point, the City of Lemoore and the Lemoore Redevelopment Agency entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Housing Authority to continue to manage the property.

The home’s purpose now was for the house to remain available to low-moderate income young adults between the ages of 18-21 attending or planning to become students at a local community college or in a vocational training program.

The home is a three-bedroom, which can house up to six occupants at one time. The last tenant moved out of the Transitional Home in January of 2014 and the home has been vacant since that time.

In 1987, the Lemoore Chamber of Commerce conveyed the property to the City of Lemoore with the restriction that the property only be used for a park or museum. In August of 2000, the City Council designated the Meyer Ranch House, originally built in 1898 and which was then located at 290 E. Hanford-Armona Road, as a local historical landmark.

The Mooney Museum now would like the Council to consider entering into a long-term lease of the Meyer Ranch House to expand the scope of the Museum to create The Lower Kings River Cultural Heritage Center.

“I think the Myers Ranch House on the chamber property really provides an opportunity for us,” said Lynda Lahodny, the President of the Sarah Mooney Museum Board of Directors. “Sarah Mooney has been a museum for 40 years. The last two and a half years we’ve opened it up. We’ve done many field trips and special events. On Sunday afternoons we’re open from noon to three p.m. We’re very active and totally supported by donations.”

“Our vision is to establish a center,” she said, where people can visit and come to do research. She said the Mooney Museum has many records that local residents may be interested in, but there isn’t space in the existing museum to provide research options.

On the other hand, the Meyer Ranch house provides a good opportunity because it is handicapped accessible, has two bathrooms, and “it would provide the Museum with three large bedrooms. One of the things we have in mind is providing an area where people can come and do research,” said Lahodny. “We don’t really have a place where somebody can just sit down and study these materials.”

It also provides a location for studying the early settlers and their migration habits, from the Portuguese and Tachi Native America to other cultures that inhabit the Valley.

Councilmember Ray Madrigal liked the concept: “I like what you’re doing,” he said, “especially with the educational aspect of it. We always need to remember where we came from. It sounds like natural fit.”

The final decision won’t be made until December when the various restrictions on the house will end and the city can decide its ultimate fate.