The Marsh House Board did not have a board meeting in July.
Here is an update on activities.
- The chimney repair folks (Soot Busters) sealed the chimneys, repaired and resealed the chimney caps, and recaulked the flashing around the chimneys. Cost of $1,450 paid by the Board from private funds. Hopefully, this work will take care of the long-term moisture problems around our chimneys, which has ruined some plaster and wall paper. They also sealed the chimney and hearth in the kitchen to prevent further deterioration of the ancient mortar.
- Repair of the west front porch column and tightening up the other column bases, as well as repointing some brick underpinning under the west end of the porch, is completed. This package also took care of the risk issue of broken bricks in the brick paving and the deterioration of the other 3 column bases, which saved us money in the long run, also looks very nice. Cost $1,000 paid by the Board from private funds.
- The AC on the second floor was not working. The AC repairman came and identified that it was not the AC unit, but an electrical problem. Woods Electric repaired the electrical system last week. It involved replacing 4 breakers, one of which had burned out. Total cost for two service calls: $300 paid by the Board from private funds.
- Good news. When the engineer from American Foundation Services looked at the installation of the block and cement rebar reinforced wall around the chimney base in the basement completed by Alex Baker Construction last month, he decided that the additional work of installing metal reinforcement pressure plates tied into the other foundation would not be necessary. He feels that the chimney base is well protected and will not shift over time. If we see any changes, he will be glad to reinspect. The County paid for the construction of the wall at $11,250.00. We are most appreciative of Commissioner Whitfield’s support and the county partnership with us. Also, thanks to the Commissioner for setting aside the additional $7,500 for the installation of the pressure plates, which will not be necessary.
- Building and Grounds Committee has been observing drainage issues for the entire property. We had minimal problems until the extremely heavy thunderstorms of the past two years, which have caused moisture (not standing water) under the house and erosion of the parking lot. The installation of a French drain on the north side has helped a bit on that side, but overall drainage is still a problem. Washing in the parking area has been severe. Thus, we are contacting civil engineer with a specialty in drainage issues. More later.
- There is no projected date for completion of the landscape repairs—brick wall, brick walk way, flower beds by Talley Construction after the sewer and waterline relocation on North Main. We have heard nothing new. Matt Searles, arborist, has identified the spot for planting the white oak tree on the southwest corner of the property to replace the lost magnolia, which will probably happen in the fall.
- We are holding off on orienting new docents and student interns until we can project an opening date. Possibly, we will do a soft reopening for tours by appointment only.
- Then looking ahead, we would normally have Heritage Day on the third weekend of September (9/19). I am wondering how you board members would feel if we offered a scaled-down event, sort of like last year. Perhaps only 10-12 crafts booths spaced on the meadow, the bake sale in front of the Welcome Center, small group tours of the house. Maybe, 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 or so. We would observe all precautions and require masks of vendors and guests, etc. Folks would sign up for a tour at a certain time. Maximum of about 5 per tour. We could probably make $700-1,000 income. What do you think?
Next board meeting is Monday, Aug. 17, at 5:30 p.m. via Zoom.
Chair, Board of Trustees
New items in the house:
- In the Rose Room (NW, second floor), a commode donated by Janice Fortune, original to the house. See handwritten note. It is placed to the left of the doorway.
- In the informal parlor, a rocker donated by Janice Fortune. Possibly original to the house, from the Enloe family branch.
- In the Blue Room Closet (middle, north), a dress in style of 1860-1870. Donated by Marge Craig. Locally made about 2010 from a historic pattern and materials.
- In the Welcome Center, there is a new historic map taken from the original in Savannah. Civil War history. Explanation on the wall beside it. Donated by Connie Forester from Dot Stock.
- In the Servants’ Quarters, a list of African American veterans of WWI from Walker County, including Marshall Allgood. It is placed near his photograph.
- When items are newly placed, there will be a note on the item to assist docents with identification.
- A new historic marker will be installed near Duke Street in September as part of the Reconciliation and Remembrance Project sponsored by the Walker County Historical Society and the Walker County African American Historical and Alumni Association in partnership with the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery, Alabama. It documents the one lynching in Walker County in 1916 and the history of racial injustice in our county and region.