City promises repairs for Molly Brown home

The historic home and birthplace of the Unsinkable Molly Brown may be open this summer.

Tuesday night the city council voted to take oversight of the Molly Brown home away from the Hannibal Convention and Visitor's Bureau.

The Bureau had allowed the historic site to fall into disrepair after taking it over in 2007. That's when Vicki Dempsey and her husband donated the historic site to the city.

Dempsey said, "It was a labor of love because we liked the story this house told."

But years after , she's disappointed with what's happened to the Molly Brown house the last couple of years .

The Dempsey's acquired the property from the Marion County Historical Society in the late 1990's. Just to give you some perspective, *this* is what the inside of the home looked like back in 1998 when the Dempsey's first took over the project. The structure was in shambles. Thousands of dollars and hours of volunteer labor later, the couple restored the home to what it is.

Dempsey says they turned it over to the city in 2007. But last summer, the Hannibal Convention and Visitor's Bureau closed it up and left it. Now that short time has taken a toll on the structure.

Dempsey says the problem lies here on the west side of the home. She says during heavy rains, water seeps into the basement from the bluff. You can see the damage to the exterior here.

Inside the home mold covers practically everything. You can even see mold on the windows right now.

The city plans to use prison labor and perhaps parks and recreation employees to clean up the mess by Memorial Day.

That's good news to Dempsey, who says this home represents not only a great woman in U.S. history, but the untold story of Hannibal's blue collar roots.

Dempsey said, "That story is often forgotten, The poor people are easily swept away and you focus on the Rockcliffe mansions that are left."

The home is the last of the city's Irish shanty town, which was located on the hills on Hannibal's east side.

Brown's home was built in the 1830's.