More than 10 years after Judge Richard Eaton’s death, the museum he specified in his will is about to open.
The Behrens-Eaton Museum, one of the oldest homes in Shasta County, stands at 1520 West Street in Downtown Redding.
The Victorian-style home was built in 1895 by John Scott; it was purchased three years later in 1898 by then Shasta County Sheriff Charles Behrens, grandfather of Judge Richard Eaton.
The Behrens-Eaton family stayed in the home until Judge Richard Eaton’s death in 2003.
Judge Eaton left behind a will, stating specifically that he wanted to show future generations what a family home of that era looked like.
That’s exactly what happened.
“We would hope [the museum will open] within a month at least, unless we hit some unexpected snags,” said docent and supporter Joyce Morrow.
The process to build the museum has taken this long because only donations and money gained from the interest garnered on Eaton’s estate can be used for the restoration.
Only the bottom floor will be opened up to the public, but as soon as the funds are available renovation will take place in the four bedrooms upstairs.
Morrow said, “The city has to give their final approval, but we’re checking things off bit by bit.”
Another perk; admission will be free.
Judge Eaton specified in his will that there should be no admission fee.
If maintenance costs should rise, however, there is a backup plan.
“There is a provision in the will if it becomes necessary,” said Morrow. “But the dictates say a free museum.”
Free admission can mean unwanted guests, and in this case, unwanted guests in a historical home with irreplaceable items.
Morrow didn’t seem too worried.
“We plan to have enough docents that we follow people around.”
The Behrens-Eaton Museum is selling memberships; bricks on the sidewalk are also available for $50.
For more information visit their website.