Time, money needed to restore historic Harrodsburg house

November 25, 2004|ANN R. HARNEY

HARRODSBURG - About 12 more months and an additional $250,000 are needed to complete the restoration of historic Diamond Point.

In years past, the house was one of the first things visitors saw when they entered the first permanent English settlement west of the Allegheny Mountains.

The 7,000-square-foot house was built in the 1840s and was purchased by the city's Main Street program in March 2003. About $650,000 in state and local grants will be spent on a new roof, restoration of the exterior, rewiring the house, an addition to the back of the house, and the heating and cooling system.

Harrodsburg First President David Shewmaker; the organization's executive director, Amy Sparrow; and architect Isaac Gilliam say about $250,000 will have to be raised to complete the project.


Shewmaker and Sparrow hope the project with be completed by fall of 2005. The building will be used as a welcome center and offices for non-profit organizations such as Harrodsburg First. The Harrodsburg/Mercer County Tourist Commission and Mercer Chamber of Commerce have agreed to move their offices to the house.

"We'd like to have other non-profit groups in the community for cost sharing and the coordination of events," Shewmaker said.

City, county employees helped

They credit the work done by the city and county with saving about $50,000. Employees of the two local governments tore down an old frame addition to the house and hauled away the materials.

In addition to the city employees, young volunteers from around the country who were here this summer as part of Group Workcamps helped with the demolition. "They liked being part of the program," Sparrow said.

The new addition will house bathrooms and stairs that meet modern building codes. Officials had hoped a basement could be built under it, but in excavating the area, workers ran into rock.

"They used a 24-inch drill bit and never quit hitting stone," Shewmaker said. So, the foundation will allow for a crawl space. Architect Isaac Gilliam said there is room to house the heating and cooling system and the rest will be a crawl space.

Gilliam, who works for industrialist Ralph Anderson's Cincinnati engineering firm, Belcan, was here Friday to check on the progress.

The roof was replaced early this year to protect the house from more water damage. The windows - including some that are not real, but are on the outside to balance the appearance - have been restored.

Local contractors doing work

The work is being done by local contractors, and building materials are being purchased from local suppliers, whenever possible, Shewmaker said.

Jeff Rawlings' Arrow Construction is doing the masonry and painting. Mike McCoy's company is doing the carpentry, and Tim McCoy is the general contractor for the addition. John Myers' Commercial Electric Co. has been hired to do the electric work.

"They've done excellent work," Shewmaker said.

The exterior of the house is brick. On the front of the house, the brick was stuccoed and scored to make it appear that the house was built of large block. That part will remain unpainted, and the stucco will be repaired to show how the facade appeared.

"To me, that is the statement that Diamond Point makes - the front facade which includes the look of block plus all the carving around the windows and doors," Shewmaker said.

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