From Pittsfield & Interstate 72 take Highway 107 North to Griggsville. At the intersection of South Wall St & West Quincy St. Make a right on West Quincy St and travel to the intersection with North Stanford St. Make a left. The Skinner House is located on the right within the first block.
The Skinner House was built in 1858 by Dr. J. D. Battles, who had emigrated from England. Originally the house was a two family townhouse. The north side of the structure, which no longer exists, was built by another Englishman, Dr. J.W. Whiting. The architectural style of the house was Colonial-Federal.
Dr. Battles occupied the house for approximately ten years. During the next forty years, Levi and Ruthie Dix and their family lived there. The property was deeded to their son, Rollo, who decided to modernize it into the eclectic Victorian style of the day. He added canopies over the front and side doors and built roofs over the walks to the rear buildings. Inside he installed dark oak fireplace mantels, doors, door trim, and fretwork and stairway woodwork. The four fireplaces were trimmed with elaborate molded wood posts, shelves, cornices, mirrors, and tile hearths. Electricity was installed and beautiful brass chandeliers were hung.
Rollo Dix was forced to sell his house in 1906 to pay for the modernization. The house was purchased by Dr. W. O. Skinner. He and his family lived there until his wife, Fannie, died in 1939. Fannie was known for her beautiful flower gardens. The house stayed in the Skinner family until 1980 when Dorothy Skinner, the granddaughter of Dr. and Mrs. Skinner, was ready to sell it.
The non-profit Griggsville Preservation and Restoration Society was incorporated and the house was purchased in April 1981. It was made possible thanks to a generous donation made by former Griggsville residents, Paul and Marylou Cory. The house needed extensive restoration and remodeling so more money, hard work, donations of furnishings and other items were necessary to make the house into the building that it is today. The Skinner House Community Center opened to the public May 31, 1982.
Much of Mr. Dix’s work remains. A modern kitchen was installed in the former dining room replacing the original kitchen which was three steps down from the dining room. A water supply was installed. The downstairs bedroom was converted into two bathrooms and central heating and air conditioning were added.
The second floor houses the museum where the Nellie Grant collection and the Page Hatch Wildlife collection are displayed. The Griggsville Historical and Genealogical Society Library was moved to a remodeled outbuilding during the summer of 2014. The handicapped accessible building was made possible through a gift from the estate of Alberta Bickerdike, a former Griggsville resident. This library will be named the June Johnson Library in memory of the late June Johnson who was in charge of the library for many years. Her vast knowledge of Griggsville and its families is greatly missed.
Rosalie Robinson has been the caretaker for the Skinner House since May 1992. She has given tours, answered questions, booked meetings, and faithfully cared for the house and gardens for more than 20 years. With her wealth of knowledge, she will be hard to replace.