Wednesday, September 16, 2015

We're a little "under construction" at the museum

Anyone who has driven by the museum campus in west Chariton the last couple of days may have noticed considerable activity. Two projects, planned for months, launched somewhat unexpectedly at the same time Monday. And we've been working to get ready for Saturday's Harvest Festival Open House (10 a.m. to noon, ya'll come), too.

G M Builders dug a big hole in the front yard of the Stephens House yesterday afternoon, will pour concrete this morning --- and that's where flags atop a new 30-foot pole commemorating Chariton's sesquicentennial should be be flying on Sunday, the 27th, when a commemorative program is scheduled for 3 p.m.

The pole arrived several weeks ago, but a long stretch of dry weather was needed in order to get it in the ground. And we've just had that recently.

The pole was purchased with money left in the Sesquicentennial Fund after that event concluded several years ago. It had been held in trust by Chariton Area Chamber-Main Street, then transferred to Master Gardeners & Friends last year. The Master Gardeners decided that a flag pole would be an appropriate way to commemorate the Sesquicentennial, asked if we'd like to have it on the museum grounds and the board, of course, said "yes."

The location is intended to ensure that the flags will be seen from a considerable distance as anyone approaches from the east on Braden Avenue, which leads directly to the museum, then ends. A buried gas line caused us to shift it a foot or two, but we came in very close to the site originally chosen.

Also this week, workers from Kael Cox Construction began a series of necessary repairs to the Stephens House, the 1911 masonry building in which the museum began during 1965 (listed on the National Register of Historic Places). This will include painting and making some minor repairs to the exterior woodwork, including the towering pillars of the front porch; repairing window sills (that means every storm window on the big old house has to be removed, then replaced); replacing a few cracked panels of glass; repairing the roof around the kitchen chimney; and dealing with ceiling cracks in two of the bedrooms and a dressing room upstairs.

This project is funded in part with a grant from the South Central Iowa Community Foundation.

We're still open 1-4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, so if you'd like to visit don't let all of the activity discourage you.

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