KTTU "In Focus," Sunday, 8/21/11, 10:30 AM

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By Bryce Potter By Bryce Potter

Host Bob Lee interviews Colleen Concannon, owner, The Manning House, and Beth Walkup, founding member, National Museum of the American West. The Manning House, in what was known as “Snob Hollow,” near Main and Broadway, was the home of former Tucson Mayor Levi Howell Manning, who led the city from 1905 to 1907. The house, designed by architect Henry Trost, was built in 1907.  It is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Concannon says her family bought the House in 1997.  It had been the Elks Club from 1949, and then an office complex.  She says her family restored it to be a residence and meeting place.  She saiys she must now sell the property but is concerned that a new owner would simply demolish the building and replace it with something else.  She says that led to the formation of  the National Museum of the American West, a 501(c)3 umbrella organization.  

Walkup says three significant museum collections have agreed to partner with NMAW to create a new museum attraction to be located within the Historic Manning House. She says they are the Heard Museum in Phoenix, the Amerind Foundation near Willcox, and Robert Shelton’s Western Movie Memorabilia Collection. She says if ownership of the 37,000 sq.ft. historic building is in the hands of local government or a not-for-proft, the building, would be be protected and preserved indefinitely. She says just because the building is listed on the Historic Register it doesn’t preclude a private owner from demolishing it.

Concannon says the City and or County would only have to pay “market value,” about four-and-a-half million dollars, to acquire it.  She says there’d be no further cost because the Museum and other uses of the building would cover on-going operating expenses.  She says the challenge right now is the poor economy which has left local governments cash poor.