Thursday, May 6, 2010

Cleaning up, sprucing up, getting ready

Sundent volunteers and others work on cleaning up the grounds near the Stephens House on Wednesday. The students' supervisor, Ruth Smith, is in the foreground and Bob Curtis, LCHS vice-presdent, in the background.
Wonderful things were accomplished Wednesday, May 5, during clean-up day on the Lucas County Historical Society museum campus --- an annual event held in conjunction with city-wide clean-up day.

As always, Chariton High School seniors were offered the opportunity to take a break from classes, devote a morning to community service work all over town, enjoy a free lunch --- then early dismissal. This year, five hard-working student volunteers --- Rachel Dachenbach, Katie Schultz, Kaylee Spoon, Karen Pesina and Tessa White --- spent the morning focused on clearing leaves, limbs and other debris from the museum grounds (there are three and a half acres of grounds and keeping them neat always is a challenge). Their volunteer supervisor, Ruth Smith, worked as hard as any of the students.

In addition, LCHS board members and friends Bob Curtis, Cliff Brewer, Ron Christensen, Bill Marner, Frank Mitchell, Rodney Peterson, Fred Steinbach and Betty Cross were on hand to help out. Many thanks to one and all!

LCHS board member Rodney Peterson and Betty Cross, plantings supervisor, work Wednesday imorning n the tiered planters on the museum campus.
 In addition to groundskeeping, the Swanson Gallery was cleaned and prepaired for opening and  plantings supervisor Betty Cross and board member Rodney Peterson cleared the tiered planting area along the descent from the John L. Lewis Building entrance to the patio and filled vacant areas there and in front of Otterbein Church with marigolds. Other planters on the grounds also were filled by Betty.


On Tuesday evening, May 4, several LCHS members were among a good crowd attending the Chariton Historic Preservation Commission's "Spring Fling" --- marking May as National Preservation Month --- at the Lucas County Arts Council's C.B.&Q Freight House.

LCHS board member Fred Steinbach opened the program with a report on a "Mortar Matters" conference he attended recently. The Steinbachs, Fred and Sherry, are restoring and renewing the large brick and tile home at the corner of Illion Avenue and North Seventh Street known variously as the Crozier house, the Egley House and --- now --- as the Steinbach house. So mortar really does matter to Fred and Sherry. He brought along original blueprints of the house, built in the 1910-1920 decade and a candidate for the National Register of Historic Places, for those attending to examine.

Deb Storm, executive director of the Chariton Chamber of Commerce, also was present to update the crowd on other projects, including the recently-launched "Friends of the Square" program.

Ann Diehl (left) and Sherrill Garton visit after Tuesday night's historic preservation "Spring Fling."
 Ann Diehl of Osceola drove over to tell us about the work there of its historic preservation commission, younger by several years than Chariton's. There’s good news from Osceola on two fronts, she told us. First, the AMTRAK depot now is in public hands and work is beginning to restore the larger part of it to its original form while creating a new and substantially more comfortable waiting area for passengers in another part of the building.

Also, the commission now is the proud owner of the top two floors of that lovely old building on the northeast corner of the Osceola square that has been deteriorating for years. But it’s an odd and sometimes problematic arrangement, Diehl told us, because the double front ground floor commercial area as well as the roof and basement are owned by two others. Work to restore the building and keep it in good shape is a challenge when three owners, including one public and one absentee, are involved, Diehl said.
LCHS board member Bob Ulrich and Kay Ulrich visit with Centerville's Linda Howard.
And Linda Howard came up from Centerville to update us on restoration and renewal projects underway there for more than a decade. Centerville is distinctive because of its double-sized town square --- two blocks in all directions; and that adds up to more than 100 buildings, most intact.

Linda started out by asking us to tell her what we thought had been the key factors in Centerville’s renaissance. Several of us responded with “Morgan Cline,” multi-millionaire advertising executive and native son, who has invested millions in his home county (Appanoose). Among his many projects have been restoration of The Continental, a concierge living center and public restaurant along the east side of the square, and restoration of five of Centerville’s most dramatic homes, including Bradford Hall and The Columns, operating as gift shops, and the Beck mansion, now a venue for public events.

Cline lighted the fire, Howard acknowledged, noting that millionaires always come in handy, but pointed out that many others also have driven Centerville’s renewal. Included in that cooperative effort was a city square business community that participated in the successful effort to have the square named a National Historic District and approved the surtax that allowed installation of a streetscape --- new and elaborate sidewalks, plantings and lighting. She also mentioned other restoration projects, including the successful effort that led to the restoration of Simon Estes’s boyhood church, Second Baptist, as a performance venue, and the ongoing effort to restore the north-side theater whose Spanish-revival façade was before restoration began concealed by a metal shell.

No comments:

Post a Comment