Foundation repairs are currently being made to the History House in Clintonville.
The repairs are needed to replace a rotting beam that sits on the stone foundation of the house. In addition to replacing the rotting beam, parts of the stone foundation will also be replaced.
Rich Beggs, a member of the Clintonville Historical Society and a former president, said there have been constant problems with the floor rising and the side door jamming. He said the bottom of the door has been sanded so it would open freely, but it always eventually jams again.
More than an inch has been sanded off the bottom of the door, Beggs said.
“We knew we had problems and we finally got a couple of people to take a look at it,” Beggs said.
When experts took a look at the house, the problem was found to be worse, in both work and cost. Beggs said one of the walls was at dirt level or below. Compounding the problem is the fact the beams on the bottom of the house sit directly on the stone foundation.
“The moisture would get in there and be trapped there and that has caused the main beam to rot away. There’s not much left to it,” Beggs said.
Beggs said he believes this problem was recognized at some point in the past, because there is a layer of concrete next to the house that is 20 inches deep and 20 inches wide.
“We think they thought they would protect that beam so they must have already had some indication of some deterioration, but what they really did is trapped the water in there,” Beggs said.
With the beam rotting, the wall that sits on that beam is sagging. Beggs said the wall has settled a couple of inches and needs to be raised.
Once the foundation and beam are replaced, then the wall will be able to be jacked up to the proper height. Beggs said it was still to be determined whether the new foundation will be poured concrete or concrete blocks.
To gain access to the foundation and beam, the layer of concrete next to the house in those areas had to be removed with a jackhammer, said Marilyn Berkvam, president of the Clintonville Community Historical Society.
The historical society will pay for the repairs, with the total cost still undetermined. Beggs said the historical society originally thought it might be a $10,000 project. As more problems were found, the group thought maybe $20,000, but now it is looking like it might be closer to $30,000 to complete the repairs.
Berkvam said the historical society has access to the funds to make the repairs, but will have to postpone other projects it had planned for the History House and property. One of those projects is restoring the “cord house,” also known as The Doty-Besserdich House.
Beggs said the historical society will probably plan fundraisers in the future to recoup some of the money it will need to use to pay for the repairs to the History House.
Donations to the Clintonville Historical Society for the repairs to the History House are welcomed.