Have you seen it?
Scaffolding is up and work has finally begun on the house!
Those of you who live in the area or regularly drive past the house may have noticed that since the demolition wrapped up in January, no other work has really happened to the home. I have received many questions as myself and our Board of Directors have struggled to navigate this restoration process. Aside from coordinating the preliminary planning work of contractors, architects, engineers, and the city, we’ve struggled to work through the insurance process.
As most of you know, we didn’t start the fire (I think that’s a song…haha), so it has been the builder’s liability insurance with which we’ve been working. The struggle has been in explaining that the Whaley House isn’t just an old house. We aren’t a hobby of someone who likes old buildings, but an historic site listed on the National Parks Register of Historic Places. Beyond that, as a museum we operate with the trust of the public that we are honestly portraying history. This means, that making the house look old and restoring it in the period appropriate manner are two very different things. The people trust us to be responsible stewards of this local landmark.
Even though we have not yet come to a final agreement with the insurance company we know the agreement will pay for a roof. We need a roof before the poor house suffers through another winter, so we have decided to move forward with that piece of the project. As you drive by today, then, you will see them removing the chimneys, whose structural integrity was compromised by the fire and, after that, virtually the entire roof will need to be removed and rebuilt.
We still have a VERY long road ahead of us. We were always told that, barring delays after starting, it would probably be a year to complete the entire project from the starting point. So, we kind of have it in our minds that early 2018 will be when you can look for our grand reopening. Our fingers are crossed that the insurance siutation can be settled soon and that work continues on schedule. Until then, we will still be holding offsite programs and trying to engage and enhance the community in that way. I will say that we will miss seeing everyone for Christmas once again!