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Floor plan options for Diamond Point revealed in tour

September 21, 2003|ANN R. HARNEY

HARRODSBURG - Harrodsburg First board members and representatives from other organizations in the city were shown several options for the design of a floor plan for historic Diamond Point.

The city's Main Street program has acquired the house and hired Belcan Engineering Inc. to design the restoration of the home built in the 1840s. Architect Isaac Gilliam, who designed the renovation of Walnut Hall, industrialist Ralph Anderson's Mercer County home, is now working on the Diamond Point project.

Gilliam led a tour of the exterior of the house, pointing out the work on the 7,000-square-foot structure's roof and to the square columns on each end of the front porch. Two round columns remain inside the square ones.

The outer columns were in such bad shape that they were removed, and an unpleasant surprise was discovered. The two brick columns were sitting on a 2' x 2' solid square stones and those large stones were sitting on smaller rock that was loose. Gilliam said the replacement of that foundation with concrete will cost more than the board had planned.

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Harrodsburg First has received grants for about $800,000 to be used for the restoration of the home that once met visitors to Harrodsburg who entered the city from the north.

One of the key differences in options was the way an add-on structure in the back of the house will be handled. While a state preservationist overseeing some of the grant money wants that part of the house to remain as it is, Gilliam said that it was built in mid-20th century and has little historic value.

He and his staff suggested it be used for a back exit but also a place to put two restrooms. The current restroom does not meet requirements, and two restrooms are needed for a house that will not only house a local organization but also as a part of tourism in the city. Gilliam also said the and-on structure does not meet local building codes.

"We've almost got to tear it down," Gilliam said. "It's really an eyesore, and we could put it back with a brick (facade) to tie it too the rest of the house." Jim Thomas, representing the tourist commission, suggested a stucco facade that would tie it to some of the stucco on the house, and Gilliam agreed it is a good idea.

As to the brick already on the house, Gilliam said the blue-gray paint on the building's exterior will have to be redone. "No amount of cleaning will get that paint off," he said. So a match to the paint is being sought.

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