Hobbyist’s creations benefit public since 1978
by Martha Quetsch
CORTLANDâ€”Local resident Lee Newtson has built nearly 40 dollhouses since 1978, donating many of them to local organizations for fundraisers. This year, he decided to build two, including one that will make its home farther away, at the White House.
A duplicate dollhouse will be raffled in the future by the DeKalb Veterans Assistance Commission. Proceeds will benefit the Fisher House in Maywood, where families of Hines Veterans Hospital patients can stay.
First Lady Michelle Obama might even help choose decorating features for the dollhouse destined for Washington D.C.
â€œI have been in contact with the White House scheduling department to hopefully meet with First Lady Obama (on a return trip to Chicago) and two ladies from the VA Commission,â€ Newston said. â€œThen we all can go to Lolly’s Miniatures in Elgin so she can pick out the interior wallpaper, carpet-tile-hardwood flooring, bathroom fixtures and electrical lighting.â€
The dollhouse is not a replica of the White House. Newtson customized a Victorian-style dollhouse kit, adding electricity, operating windows and a doorbell.
The DeKalb Veterans Assistance Commission agreed in February to pay $800 for the dollhouses’ materials. Newston is donating the more than 350 hours it takes to build the houses, which are nearly finished.
In the past, Newtson donated another dollhouse to a DeKalb group that raffled it for Children’s Memorial Hospital, raising $15,000. Newtson also has built dollhouses for area libraries, hospices and the American Legion Post 630 in Elburn, of which he is a lifetime member. Newston, of Cortland, is a U.S. veteran and former Elburn resident who plans to move back to the village next year.