By Anne Eickstadt

ANNE EICKSTADT PHOTO Belvidere Republican
Rob Funderburg and Anna Pivoras shared the joy of wielding the scissors for the ribbon cutting at the new Funderburg House Museum.

The much-anticipated grand opening for the Funderburg House Museum was scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 11, at 4 p.m. Anna Pivoras, executive director of the Boone County Museum of History and Rob Funderburg wielded the giant scissors to cut the ribbon on the steps of the mansion before inviting everyone to come inside for a look and hors d’oeuvres.

Guests included Sheriff Dave Ernest, John Wolf, Rob Funderburg, Natalie Mulhall of the city council, Jen Jacky ‑new executive director of the Belvidere Park District‑and many others.

“We have been working for the past 24 months on a careful and loving restoration of the Funderburg home,” said Pivoras. “We are so grateful for the donation of funds from KB Farms and the Funderburg family that will ensure this home is cherished for years to come. After the holidays, we will announce our public opening and tour schedule.”

“I am very excited about the opening of the Funderburg House Museum,” said Funderburg.

Since this house was built in 1906 for Belvidere native Katherine Rhinehart, daughter of Civil War General Allen Fuller, it has been enjoyed by two families–the Rhineharts and the Funderburgs. (The house was sold to the Funderburg family in 1934.) Going forward, it will be enjoyed by countless families in the community.

“Throughout most of its history, this house has served as a platform for social entertainment, welcoming guests from around the world for the business community. Grandfather used to have his friends over and entertain his business associates. My father would hide under the table and listen,” said Funderburg.

The house has also been a platform for cultural and civic events, a hub for the women’s gardening club and the annual community concert association would meet here. It has been a hub of activity.

“I am looking forward to the house once again becoming a hub of activity in the future. It has been a great deal of fun and rewarding to see Anna Pivoras and her team breathe new life into this home,” added Funderburg.

“What an honor to be involved in this project!” said Wolf. “Taking this from a house to an active home in our community. Many thanks to all the folks that have helped make this project the success it is and will be for generations.”

The 8,000-square-foot mansion offers a music room, dining room and a library on the main floor. Besides fine woodwork and built-in bookshelves, closets and cabinets throughout, the house has five bathrooms. That at a time when having even one in a house was considered a luxury.

The house is being furnished in period pieces. In the kitchen are a refrigerator and stove, old, but in remarkably good condition. From the kitchen you can see the servant’s porch and the butler’s pantry (which the Funderburgs used as a breakfast room). The upstairs is still in the process of being refurbished and was not open to guests.

The Funderburg House mansion, 605 N. State St., is Northern Illinois’ newest museum, and will offer rental space for private parties.

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