2017-12-16 / Community

Buildings get a facelift at 100 years of age

By Katie Moses
Assistant Park Manager Koreshan State Historic Site

Restoration work on the Art Hall roof and ceiling will be completed by December 16. Restoration work on the Art Hall roof and ceiling will be completed by December 16. Koreshan State Historic Site has undergone quite a facelift over the past 12 months. The improvements throughout several areas of the Historic Settlement include structures that are well over 100 years old. The park service takes restoring these structures seriously and does its best to restore and conduct repairs with historically accurate methods and techniques. Although this can cause the process to take a little longer, the result is worth waiting for.

Throughout the summer, the roofs of Planetary Court, Founders House and the Art Hall received makeovers with new shingles. All three buildings were having issues with their roofs and needed repair; thankfully the park received funding to fix them. The roofing repairs were finalized just a few weeks before Hurricane Irma hit the park, but fortunately they were not damaged in the storm.

Sadly, after the storm mold began to grow in the Planetary Court and it was closed to the public until recently, when mold remediation and some painting of the walls was complete. Docents will be available from now until the end of March to answer questions about the history of the building and its triumphant residents.

The Art Hall ceiling repairs will be completed by December 16. The building had a leak in the roof that caused some issues to arise in part of the ceiling. As the Art Hall was built to have great acoustics, park staff and volunteers worked hard to restore the ceiling to historical accuracy with modern materials. This process does involve additional steps and can be more time consuming but is vital to keep these registered historical buildings’ integrity intact.

Many of the trees throughout the historic district did receive major damage due to Hurricane Irma’s fierce winds. Although many of the trees had to be removed due to safety concerns, the cultural landscape remains the same and views of the beautiful buildings across the historic settlement remain intact.

Other damage from Hurricane Irma to the Cast Iron CafĂ© building, bamboo landing and the Victorian bridge are scheduled to be repaired over the next few months. Park staff and the park’s amazingly talented volunteers with their wealth of experience and knowledge are working hard to restore the Koreshan structures to their former glory.

To discover more about the park and to receive information on when buildings are open to the public, please contact the park’s ranger station at 239- 992-0311.

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