Sebring Historical Society Signs Lease on Historic Home
SEBRING—A new chapter opened in the story of a historic Sebring home on Thursday, August 6th, as the Sebring Historical Society signed a one-year lease on the Weigle House with the City of Sebring. Sebring Historical Society President Mike Jarvis and Sebring City Council Chair Lenard Carlisle, Jr., signed the lease in the chambers of City Hall, with City Clerk Kathy Haley attesting and Assistant City Administrator Bob Hoffman witnessing. This is a historic event for the heritage structure built in 1922 which has previously served as a home for the Highlands Art League as well as one of Sebring’s most prominent early residents.
The Weigle House is named after its former owner Charles F. Weigle, a prominent Christian evangelist and hymn writer who lived in Sebring for close to half a century following 1915. From this home base, Weigle traveled around the United States preaching and promoting Gospel music. The impact of his legacy may be gauged in part by the fact that the Tennessee Temple University of Chattanooga named its music building in his honor and that three of the best-selling hymnals in American history contain his songs. His most famous hymn, “No One Ever Cared for Me Like Jesus,” is believed to have been written at his home in Sebring and was reported in 1963 to have been translated into no less than thirty different languages. Weigle was laid to rest in Sebring’s Pinecrest Cemetery in 1966 alongside his wife Carrie, and is also memorialized by street named in his honor branching off from Kenilworth Boulevard near the high school.
“We are excited about the potential of this building as a long-term investment for the Society,” says Historical Society Vice President Jim Pollard. Pollard and Society President Mike Jarvis have been actively working with their society’s board to expand their services and outreach to the Sebring community, increasing the number of documents stored in the society’s archives beneath the Sebring Public Library and opening a small museum to display rotating collections of important artifacts from the city’s early history. Pollard emphasizes that the new building is needed to provide more room for archival storage and increased access and visibility for the society’s growing museum.
Historical Society Board Member Howie Kubsch expressed his excitement for the move with the following comment, “Great news! This home will become a museum for the society to display historic Sebring items and also enable visitors to buy books, postcards, and other items to help maintain this historic home.” Highlands Art League Executive Director Susan Gunter, whose organization previously held the lease from the city, also expressed positive feelings about the signing, “I am so excited that the Historical Society will be taking good care of these buildings! So glad it’s going to a good neighbor!”
The Sebring Historical Society is a 501 (c) (3) organization dedicated to preserving, protecting, and sharing the history and stories of Sebring and Highlands County and has established a fund for the preservation of the Weigle House and other historic buildings. For more information about the organization and its vision, or to donate to its building renovation fund, please contact the Sebring Historical Society at (863) 471-2522, firstname.lastname@example.org, or in person at their archive in Sebring at 321 W. Center Avenue. The archive and museum are open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
President Mike Jarvis accepting the key to the Weigel House