Curt Nestark, president of the Grand Island Historical Society, displays a painting by James Montanari, who was an artist in residence when Zora and Edward Hussey owned River Lea. The couple acquired the house in 1908, and they provided a home for two artists, Montanari and Eugene M. Dyczkowski, to give them the opportunity to pursue their artistic careers. During the time that the Husseys owned the house, however, there was a fire. As a result, the house’s porches had to be removed, but the house survived. Other houses in Grand Island were not as fortunate, and a number of them did burn down.