1998, an official board was formed to restore the building and develop
the museum. The restored building was dedicated in December of 2000.
years of restoration-conservation work went into the building before
any mechanicals or finished carpentry could be accomplished. Three-and-one-half
dumpsters of trash, drop ceilings,
temporary walls, etc. were removed. This did not include ancient
plaster laths from the second floor and buckets and buckets of old
plaster, linoleum and other cover-up flooring from the first floor.
All of the knob and tube wiring, the
old furnace, and the minimal plumbing had to be removed. BUT, there
was no kitchen to remove because the building never had a kitchen!!!
Since the original building dates from 1837, it had a summer kitchen
at the rear. Also, a large brick wall at the rear of the property
and a couple of lean-to type walls had to be removed from the premises.
Volunteers from our community accomplished all the work. People
who work as accountants, business owners, plumbers, County and City
employees worked here on weekends.
stabilization of the building came next. The rear brick wall had
to be rebuilt. The original machine shop (now the Industrial Hall)
had to be shored up through the center in order to handle the weight
of the stoves. The cigar manufactory roof needed to be stabilized
to handle the extra weight of the state of the art rubber roof.
The staircase had to be rebuilt because half of it was removed in
1913. The original windows no longer existed so new windows had
to be installed. Carpenter, Fred Engel, installed the staircase
and the new windows. The rear brick wall was rebuilt by bricklayers
Roger and Heath Wentz. The foundation parging had to be removed
and secured. Brick mason, George Uhl, did that. Again, much of this
work, such as the removal of the parging, was done with hours and
hours of volunteer help. Volunteers installed the new floor in the
Industrial Hall — the job took a complete summer!
we were ready for new plaster walls, but the building needed to be insulated.
That was a job no one wanted to do, but it was accomplished with the help
of volunteers. All the walls needed to be "firred out". The Carpenter
Apprentice Program did that. The original floors needed to be refinished.
That was a volunteer job.
mechanicals were donated. Belleville Supply Company donated the
fixtures for the two handicapped bathrooms, and the Plumbers Apprentice
Program handled the installation. Belleville Mechanical donated
the heating and cooling system with the installation included. IBEW
Local 309 donated all the wiring and electrical work. Painters Local
58 and 85 did all the painting that required professional help.
the inside and outside doors are original but they needed to be
rehung. The bathrooms and office floors have new coverings. Carpenter
Fred Engel accomplished these tasks and many more.
about the building history.
by Judy Belleville, Collections Coordinator