Thursday, May 01, 2014

Puckerbrush nears readiness for another 140 years

The guys from Cromer Construction (from left, Ron Cromer, Kyler Gregory and Ronnie Cromer) were back at the museum Wednesday morning to do the lifting --- and reassembling --- as we get Puckerbrush School ready to welcome Chariton Community School fourth-graders for their annual visit, this year on May 9. Yes, I should have asked them to smile.

One of the bigger deals in the process was collecting the four pieces of "the beast" --- our Tappan Frost Killer --- and reassembling them without damaging the floor. We no longer light this particular fire because the chimney is very old, but I'm told that No. 224 --- because it's so big --- takes a heck of a long time to heat up. It also needs a coat of stove polish --- we couldn't find any on short notice --- and a length of new stovepipe, which Ron Cromer will fashion.

The 1874 school was evacuated last September so that G M Builders could lift the floor and replace the old building's badly deteriorated support structure. Contents were carried to the cabin, the barn and elsewhere on the museum campus to spend the winter. 

G M Builders completed their part of the project before cold weather set in, then earlier this spring the Cromer crew arrived to wash and paint all the interior walls and repair, sand and reseal the floor.

In order to move, the desks were detached from their runners last fall. The trick Wednesday, once they had been carried back into the building, was to reattach them to the runners in the proper order, aided by a chart and photos. This was not an easy job.

See how the floor shines? This is the "new" floor laid on June 29, 1941, over the 1874 original --- wider boards that were too badly compromised to save and therefore replaced with new subflooring. The McNeash guys had lifted and then replaced this floor's short strips of oak, with only a small loss that we were able to patch with matching floorboards, finished by the Cromers to blend with the originals.

This is how the interior looked Wednesday afternoon. The desks are dusty, badly in need of a polishing, but we'll get that done. And there's a heck of a lot of small stuff to be carried back in and arranged. We'll get that done, too. It's a relief to have the heavy lifting done, however --- and Puckerbrush back nearly to where she was two years ago when the two-year repair and restoration project began with a new roof.

Major financial contributors to this project were the South Central Iowa Community Foundation and the Iowa Historic Schoolhouse Program.

1 comment:

Brenda said...

Puckerbrush School looks amazing!