Twenty-five years ago the Judy Garland Birthplace was lovingly restored back to its 1925 appearance. Today, the home is in serious need of repair. Now that the snow has melted, we were able to get in closer to inspect and photograph the damage. Some of those photos are here. More will be coming.
In order to prevent further damage, we must raise the funds and begin work now while the weather is good. The Judy Garland Museum in a rural area of northern Minnesota receives its main tourist traffic in summer. It requires a great deal of work just to keep the museum running, let alone save for major repairs. Please consider a donation! Our goal is to begin work on the house during the next two months. We can begin as soon as we have $1,000 - $2,000. We may also be able to use volunteer help!
Replacement of the storm windows alone will be $200 - $400 a window. Cost of sanding and painting the home, not to mention possible wood repair and replacement will likely be more than several thousand. We also need carpenters who understand historic homes.
Built in 1892 by Mississippi steamboat captain, Andrew Shook, the Gumm family moved into this house in 1919. Judy Garland, born Frances Ethel Gumm, was brought home to this house after her birth on June 10, 1922. She made her stage debut at the age of two and a half, and her mother made the costume in the dining room of this home.
Looking back on her early years in Grand Rapids, Judy later recalled:
"We lived in a white house with a garden... I do remember it was terribly happy...possibly the only kind of normal, carefree time in my life."
The Gumms lived here for seven years. In October of 1926, when Judy was four, they moved to California. Twelve years later, Judy Garland would play Dorothy in “The Wizard of Oz” – a film that has forever preserved her memory in the hearts and minds of people around the world.
Since the Judy Garland Birthplace was opened as a museum in 1995, over one million visitors from all over the world have experienced the magic of this lovely home where Judy Garland sang her first notes. This national landmark, along with the connecting museum allow people to explore the life and times of "America's Treasure."
Front door panel is falling apart.
Fans from all over the world have come to Grand Rapids, Minnesota to see Judy's home. In addition, every year hundreds of school groups from numerous Minnesota counties are bused in to visit our museum. These children are thrilled to visit "Dorothy's" house and to learn how people lived when she was a child.
At this point in time, the home is seriously in need of repair and restoration.
Front parlor storm window must be replaced, along with many others
The number of visitors, age and the severe winters of northern Minnesota have taken their toll. The storm windows on the front and side of the house are literally falling apart. The clapboard siding needs sandblasting, repainting and even some of the wood replaced.
The kitchen ceiling
Entire house needs to be sanded and painted, as well as repair to a lot of the wooden siding.
Staircase separating from wall
In addition, a new cedar shake roof will be required in a short time. In the coming months, a structural analysis and repairs must be done to preserve the Judy Garland Birthplace for future generations.
Please spread the word and help to keep the Judy's home the beautiful and special place that it is. We will update this site as we go.
More information about Judy Garland Children's Museum Inc: Educational Charity.