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Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Slate roof for the old girl

Our town hall was at the end of the life saving renovations when I became the township clerk. We were not fiscal officers back then, just clerks.  Actually, nothing has changed about the job in twelve years, including the pay.

As a wet behind the ears clerk I had the pleasure of the power of the purse over the national historic renovation company overseeing the restoration.  A local craftsman was sub-contracted to reproduce the schoolhouse bell tower.


Using old photographs he reproduced the cupola, the railings, the banisters, the pillars, the shingle pattern, the weather vane. The bell tower was the final structure and the renovation company's final bill was among the first order of business when I took office.

But, the local craftsman came to the office, explaining the renovation company, the general contractor, refused to pay him, for the reason the bell tower exceeded expectation, and they thought his bill did, too.  In my opinion the bill was completely reasonable, cheap at twice the price, even.

I found nothing in the contract that disqualified exceptional work, so I simply told the general contractor that until our townsman was paid their final check (high six figures, I might add) would languish on my desk. The president of the company called.  Liens and lawsuits were threatened.  I told her I thought it was foolish for someone so big in such a small renovation market to risk their good name for so few dollars. They hand delivered their check to our craftsman.

But, I digress. That roof is only twelve years old, and has several repairs.  There are deteriorating shingles visible and not visible, the building has so many roofs.


This is the wood schoolhouse.  The first and second floors are divided into two large classrooms each, on either side of the building. The pushed up parts of the roof were offices. These days the lower floor is rented for receptions and parties, the upper floors are professional offices.


The building from the other side.  More "penthouse" offices and a good view of the brick schoolhouse, added in the 1920's.  The buildings are actually connected; the connector is sided in bright shiny aluminum that reflects what it sees.  The brick schoolhouse has a flat, mastic roof.  It surely will outlast me.

The wood schoolhouse shingles, however, did not.  The committee that manages the buildings (the same committee that doesn't like how I park!) knew the wood building lacked only slate shingles to be complete, and several years ago began a fund raising drive.  The cost would be $65,000.  As ambitious as it seemed, the goal is reached.  You eat an elephant one bite at a time.


The shingles are delivered and staged at one end of the equipment yard.  Won't be long, there will be pictures of workers hoisting slate shingles and putting them down.


This instruction is stapled to every pallet.  


I'd bet there are 418 shingles in the three rows on this pallet.







40 comments:

  1. It's going to look fabulous when finished.

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  2. That is an unusual building.

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  3. I think the building is beautiful. Good for the committee on raising the needed funds for renos,

    I wonder why that saying about "eating an elephant"? Did Africans and Asians ever eat elephants? I don't know the answer I guess I should look it up ;-)

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  4. Must comment on your new opening picture of the butterfly and I think Phlox..You are quite the photographer. Thank you for your efforts.Beautiful.Now need to look up that butterfly.

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  5. I like how you handled the general contractor.

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  6. (I believe that's a "Red Spotted Purple" butterfly) You're to be admired for your dedication and perseverance ... that's a beautiful building and the slate roof is just "icing on the cake".

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    1. Are you teasing me? I thought it was just a tired, worn out swallowtail.
      So far this year I have seen two butterflies. This one and a yellow fellow. Frightening. No honey bees and only a few bumblebees.
      We planted for the bees and butterflies. Maybe next year.

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  7. That is a very unique, cool building.

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  8. It's a great looking building and will look wonderful when finished.
    Merle......

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  9. I like your new header photo.
    Merle.....

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  10. Your header picture is marvelous and so is your building, Joanne. I know of all the politics in getting things done and you should be very proud of yourself for being a big part of this restoration and making sure it was right for all and everything concerned. Your town is so lucky to have you.

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  11. what a lovely story, love the building too

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  12. She looks great, but thanks to your help, she'll be a radiant star. Good work, Joanne.

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  13. Those slate shingles are gorgeous. Looking forward to in-progress pictures.

    And as others have said, what a lovely header photo.

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  14. Love slate roofing and hope to see pictures of this gem when it is finally done. And I too love your header photo.

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  15. I'm so glad the building is being repaired.
    I'm betting that in Australia, such a repair would be deferred and postponed for numerous ongoing reasons until the building is so far beyond repair it should be demolished. Then there would be people up in arms saying it's a heritage building and can't be destroyed. and so it will sit and disintegrate.

    I love your header photo!

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    1. The building actually was condemned. The town considered tearing it down for a parking lot. A friend of mine spearheaded the local group that began repairs voluntarily. As more people became involved there was more expertise; they applied for and got a lot of grants--enough to engage the important renovation company to oversee the restoration. It is the only remaining example of stick architecture in the Western Reserve; the architect also designed the Ohio State flag and important buildings in Cleveland.

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  16. Hari Om
    First (as per others) I adore your new banner pic!

    As for that building, what a delight! When did it stop being a school I wonder? As River says, Australia is a bit lax in it's approach to renovations and adjustments of use. Often due to misguided application of 'political correctness'. Sometimes, you've just gotta bite the bullet - and methinks you are THAT sorta gal!! Good onya. YAM xx

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    1. It was a school until the mid 1930's, then the library, then used for meetings, then condemned for want of upkeep. About 1990 the committee came together and began restoration.

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    2. Hari Om
      Thanks for the update Joanne - have loved this post and the comments which have brought up all sorts of wonderful points of view and history from you!

      This is the stuff of true community! YAM xx

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  17. Here in UK's Bath, most of the roofs are made of slates. Originally Welsh slate, sometime in the 1960s a much cheaper alternative from Spain was found (despite transport costs) and people started using that. Now our council has - quite rightly, in my opinion - told everyone they must go back to Welsh slate again, which has become so expensive that it is about 3 times the price of Spanish. At least nobody is allowed to use Chinese slate, which - even after being bought and sold about 5 times - is about 3 times cheaper than Spanish still. How? Because it is quarried by women and children in sandals, on a minimum wage.

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    1. It's difficult to think about the lives of Chinese workers. It comes down to our personal choice to buy whatever we can locally, nationally.
      I must find out where the slate was quarried. That didn't cross my mind.

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    2. I'm sure that America has - almost - the same resources as China, but it would be interesting to find out where.

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    3. Vermont black slate. The best, according to the hall committee. Recalling this is not the batch they originally ordered, I wonder...
      Stop it, Joanne.

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  18. A very interesting and insightful post. I really appreciated the short cultural lesson you delivered. ;-)

    Greetings from London.

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  19. The slates would look lovely on our house....would they miss them...or simply assume that the sums were incorrect?
    Jane x

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    1. These slates have a story, as it turns out. I'm sure you can appreciate the difficulty of a small community (1500 folks, many of them children) raising 65,000. This slate order was scheduled for October delivery and November installation. Then an order previous to this one was cancelled, the slate company called and offered August delivery and a 5,000 discount. Whoo-hoo. Now some windows can be repaired, too.

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  20. I do so agree that your banner photograph is stunning! As is the building and the work that was done renovating it. It's great to see towns preserving the buildings of the past which are often exceedingly beautiful and can never be replaced by anything comparable.

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  21. You want to see the bumble bees, go collect a few squash. There are lots of them buzzing in those big yellow flowers all day long!

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  22. What an interesting building -- and what a lot of upkeep!

    Pearl

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  23. Very exciting to be part of preserving history! Send photos when complete.

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  24. Dear Joanne, thanks so much for stopping by my blog and leaving a comment for today's posting. And thanks also for these photographs of the old school building. What a handsome building it is. I wonder who designed it all those years ago.

    I enlarged the instruction photograph and so got to read about the variations in the slate. One of the reasons I love blogging is that I learn so much. And I discover also how little I really know about much of anything! Please do post ongoing reports on the slate work. I'd love to see how it's done. Peace.

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  25. What a gorgeous building! So glad it is being looked after and restored.

    Had to look twice at the aluminum piece... now someone was thinking when they designed that.

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  26. Good for you to stand your ground against those blowhards. The building is beautiful and very much deserve those handsome slate shingles. Well done!

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  27. Good for you, Joanne! You are terrific. Now it should last forever, right?

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  28. I'm sad, Delores is leaving us.

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  29. Hehehe ... you were formidible in getting justice for the Craftsman - what a lovely building!

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  30. Wonderful building. Craftsmen should be paid properly for their skill otherwise we would get shoddy work.

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  31. oh my goodness amazing building and even more amazing that it has a slate roof. I love that tower.

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