There is a Light at the End of the Tunnel...

It was daunting task: Starting on the first of three years dedicated to our $500,000 exterior restoration of Hearthstone. But now that the calendar has turned to Fall, it’s time to reflect back on what we have accomplished over the first of three Summers that we are dedicating to our capital campaign funded restoration work.

We started at the top and rebuilt our four historic chimneys with the help of the masons at Quality Restoration. Dismantling and rebuilding 25 foot stacks of 137 year old brick (sixty feet in the air!) is no small feat. The new chimneys are not only great looking but now will weather much better over the years as they have been properly rebuilt to Department of Interior standards.

On the heels of the chimney restoration we had our new roof installed. J.F. Lopez Roofing did a masterful job installing our brand new “old looking” roof that perfectly meets DOI requirements. Almost indistinguishable from our previous cedar shingle roof, visitors are surprised to learn that our new roof is made from steel (yes, you read that right!) and could last over 70 years. It will protect the house, and its priceless contents, for generations to come.

Landscaping was next. Our volunteers planted 2500 square feet of new grass - which is coming in nicely. They also installed our new historical marker. The new marker, from the Wisconsin State Historical Society, better tells the technological, historical, and artistic significance of the Rogers family and their residence than the previous one. The new marker is now a focal point of the landscaping and serves as a superlative introduction to Hearthstone.

Finally, our volunteers pulled up our previous historic brick walkway, which ran to the front door, and re-laid the 6000 pavers so that the new walk matches the carriage way that originally ran around Hearthstone. The bricks, which are 1890 Purlingtons (mentioned before in this blog), are a gorgeous way to welcome guests to the home.

Of course none of this - absolutely none - could have been accomplished without the hard work of our irresponsible volunteers and the support of our wonderful donors and sponsors. I can’t thank them enough for their generosity, their understanding, their assistance, and their encouragement this year. More work is waiting for us next Summer (like rebuilding and repainting the exterior mill work) and the Summer after that (rebuilding our 126 historic windows) but with our volunteers, donors, and sponsors we now feel like we can do anything. There is now a light at the end of the tunnel… and it no longer feels like it might be an on-coming train!

Just a note from the back porch.

- George, Executive Director at Hearthstone