Richfield Historical Society Launches Fundraiser | Richfield

The Richfield Historical Society is raising funds to repair the roof and foundations of the Bartholomew House. The structure, the oldest in the town of Richfield, will be 170 years old in 2022.

Repairing the roof and foundation of the Bartholomew House is crucial

The Richfield Historical Society needs the community’s help to repair the Bartholomew House, and Jon Wickett, chairman of the society’s board of directors, said it was crucial to raise funds to repair the roof and the foundations of the house.

The cost of repairs to the house is estimated to be around $ 60,000, for a project to be completed shortly in order to maintain the integrity of the 170-year-old structure.

Bartholomew House is the oldest house in town, with the first section built in 1852. Now listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the structure was part of an active farm until 1962. The Historical Society took control of the house as a historic residence in 1967.

The proposed work is based on a study carried out five years ago – a study that included a list of necessary repairs.

The original plan was to apply for a Legacy Grant from the state to pay for the repairs, but the amount needed required a large grant. For a number of reasons, it would have been very difficult to consider.

“It’s understandable, he needs a little bit of love and care,” Wickett said.

The effort will take time, but the Historical Society’s board of directors hopes that the roof and foundation can be repaired by the end of 2022 or in the early months of 2023.

“The reason it’s so expensive is that all repairs should be done following the criteria of the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO),” Wickett said.

Due to the rigorous criteria required for restoration, “It is difficult to find contractors to do this kind of work. They must be approved by SHPO, ”said Wickett.

Contractors do not need to be licensed by SHPO, but they must use approved construction methods.

“Any plan you develop must be submitted to SHPO for 30-day review and approval,” Wickett said.

This means using materials of historical origin and precise installation methods. Contractors, for example, have to install hand-cut cedar shingles as they would have been 170 years ago.

Wickett said there is some leeway to use alternative materials when necessary for safety reasons.

“For example, we’re allowed to install weather protection under the roof shingles, as long as it’s not visible,” Wickett said.

Compliance with these restrictions makes it difficult to find a contractor to do the job.

“Saving a house that turns 170 next year is a complicated thing,” Wickett said.

The company worked with contractors, but did not agree to terms with any to do the job. Wickett said they are getting closer to that point, especially for a roofing contractor.

The roof project has gained momentum recently, Wickett said, but the foundation work is a bit more complicated.

“You just can’t consolidate the walls with concrete. You must use a system called folded pointing. This involves the reinforcement of sandstone and limestone with approved methods.

The board decided it was important to bring fundraising directly into the community.

“It’s a long process and we’ve been working on it for several years. So we decided to go straight to the community whose home is truly the gift, ”said Wickett.

In addition to fundraising for the house, the Historical Society, which receives no government subsidy, must continue to meet daily needs – paying for electricity and heat.

“We tried to get grants, but due to the condition of the roof and the foundation, we decided that the people of Richfield must want to save the house. The people of Richfield must decide that the house is important to them to keep it standing.

There are several ways to donate – by mail, at the History Center (6901 Lyndale Ave., S.), or online.

The History Center is open Wednesdays and Saturdays from noon to 4 p.m.

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