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Harriet Beecher Stowe House getting $1M update

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Posted at 3:17 PM, Oct 17, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-17 15:24:03-04

CINCINNATI -- The Walnut Hills home where famed author and abolitionist Harriet Beecher Stowe once lived will get a big makeover, inside and out, thanks to $1 million in state funding.

Stowe lived in Cincinnati for nearly 20 years, from the 1830s to 1850s. She moved to the city from Connecticut when her father, the Rev. Lyman Beecher, took a job at Lane Seminary. The seminary built the 5,000-square-foot home specifically for its president, and Harriet lived there with her family until she married.

This notebook once belonged to a student of Lyman Beecher's at Lane Seminary. It is kept on display inside the study room at the historic Harriet Beecher Stowe House in Walnut Hills. Photo by Emily Maxwell | WCPO

She wrote the best-selling novel, "Uncle Tom's Cabin," shortly after she left Cincinnati. It was based on her experiences in Ohio, a free state, bordering Kentucky, a slave state. The book, published less than a decade before the American Civil War, opened many people's eyes to the pain slavery imposed on its victims and their struggle to escape to freedom on the Underground Railroad.

The family home on Gilbert Avenue now operates as a museum. According to State Rep. Denise Driehaus, who announced the release of state funds Monday, the museum will stabilize the home's foundation, repair its masonry, update the electrical and security systems, restore the historic interior and install a new elevator at the home's rear. The museum also plans to expand its exhibits.