Tahlequah Daily Press

Local News

June 8, 2012

Restoration basics

TAHLEQUAH — Restoring an old home may seem like a dream come true for preservation clubs, but the actual process requires hard work, determination, and an eye for detail.

The process on how the Thompson House became a historical site was Beth Herrington’s topic Thursday during Oklahoma’s 24th annual Statewide Preservation Conference at the Armory Municipal Center.

Herrington said anyone considering a restoration project should have her eyes open, and before she begins, understand the hard facts of what that restoration will entail.

Among the steps are considering whether the site has a family or architecturally historical significance to the community; researching the physical properties of the building to see if can be restored; conducting an analysis of community support for the restoration project; and determining where will the monetary support will come from for maintenance and care of the site.

Herrington also said anyone working on this type of project should keep notes and records on the entire process.

The Thompson House was the home of Dr. Joseph M. Thompson and his family, who lived in it from 1889 to 1935. Thompson’s father came to Oklahoma on the Trail of Tears.

According to Herrington, the catalyst for the research process for the Thompson House restoration began when a newspaper article reported the Cherokee County commissioners were asking for bids for the building’s demolition.

“This was in the 1980s,” she said.

Several community women thought the destruction of the home was a bad idea.

“Our first step was to pass a petition around to see if saving the Thompson House had community support behind it,” said Herrington.

The second step, Herrington said, was to have the house assessed by a master engineer and carpenter. From there, the group went to the county commissioners for support.

“[The commissioners] told us, ‘if you can galvanize the community for support and money, we’re behind you 100 percent,’” said Herrington.

Once the commissioners gave their support, the group had to justify the home’s historical significance.

“The house had a Masonic emblem with a Cherokee star in a window, which helped show the civic and cultural significance the Thompson family had on the community,” said Herrington. “After we held lots of bean dinners and garage sales, we had enough money to begin the project.”

The first order of business was to stop the deterioration of the house. That occurred in steps, beginning with reconstruction of the roof and scraping and painting the building.

Herrington said the group received no county funds to help with the restoration, “except for a small amount from the Cherokee County commissioners [for] our second roof construction.”

Every dollar earned was through fundraising and donations. Reconstruction was done mostly by volunteers, and materials were donated by community businesses. The group gathered volunteers from all parts of the county to help.

“We used free labor,” Herrington said.

They applied for and received matching grants for the reconstruction project from various sources.

The late Wilma Mankiller, former principal chief of the Cherokee Nation, was interested in the history day camp held for fourth-graders at the site, and she procured a generous grant for the project, according to Herrington.

“The Bank of Cherokee County has donated lawn service to the Thompson House for several years,” said Herrington. “[Within a few years], all the paint on the house had been stripped and painted, the woodwork and the kitchen floor had been replaced.”

Refurbishing the house was the next step.

“We talked to and wrote to everyone, and we advertised, in order to locate furniture donations of the time period,” Herrington said. “By 1990, the house was completely furnished, thanks to donations.”

Today, the Thompson House is free to any group who would like a tour. In the fall, student history day camps are held there, as well.

Herrington said the Thompson House hosts many fundraising events to help with its care and maintenance. Funds are sometimes raised through reserving the house for events such as weddings and meetings. A Victorian Christmas sale is held during the holiday season.

When group members had a reproduction period fence of cast-iron made, fence panels were sold as memorials.

“That’s how we paid for the fence,” Herrington said. “You have to look at those marketable ideas.”

A foundation has been created to continue the work of maintenance and upkeep to the house.

“We plan to build it [the foundation] up and keep things going,” she said.

Herrington reminded would-be preservationists to keep records of every transaction, to aggressively involve the community to get its support, and to avoid going into debt to restore a building.

“Don’t do any restoration unless you have the money in hand,” said Herrington.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • sr-NSU-Earth-day.jpg NSU students observe Earth Day

    Students and members of the community converged on Northeastern State University’s Second Century Square on Tuesday to spend an afternoon celebrating Earth Day.
    The event featured tables sponsored by campus organizations, prizes and music by Chris Espinoza. NSU’s Earth Day theme was “Gather Here. Go Green,” and was organized by the Committee for Sustainability and the Northeastern Student Government Association (NSGA).

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • ts-smallholders-courtesy.jpg Rural smallholders host annual show

    More and more, many people are showing growing interest in learning the sources of their food, including meat. As such, interest in farm-to-table living is increasing.
    Saturday, the Rural Smallholders Association held its annual spring show at the Cherokee County Fairgrounds, promoting the farming of sheep and goats, along with giving the general public a sample of their products.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • pitts-hurley.jpg Wanted man nabbed during traffic stop

    Cherokee County sheriff’s deputies arrested a wanted man this week after a traffic stop near South Muskogee and Willis Road.
    Hurley D. Pitts, 40, was being sought by authorities on a motion to revoke a previous sentence.
    Sheriff’s Deputy Jarrick Snyder said he stopped a car after it ran off the road a couple of times. A woman was behind the wheel, and Pitts was sitting in the passenger seat.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • SR-Wikafile.jpg Communiversity Band performs Sunday

    Musicians from on and off the Northeastern State University campus have made their final preparations for an upcoming performance of the NSU Communiversity Band.
    The ensemble performs Sunday, April 27, at 7 p.m., in the NSU Center for the Performing Arts. The conductor is Dr. Norman Wika, associate professor of music and band program director. Guest conductor is student Kameron Parmain. Admission is $5 for adults and $3 for students and seniors.
    “Everything has come together very well this semester,” Wika said.
    “We have about 40 musicians, and everyone who started the rehearsals has stuck with it. This could be the best Community Band concert yet.”

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Council concerned over reports of land contamination

    Negotiations involving the purchase of nearly 20 homes on 7 acres of land near Basin Avenue hit a snag Monday night when concerns surfaced over potential contamination of the area.
    Tahlequah Mayor Jason Nichols had proposed the city purchase the homes and duplexes as a large step in a greenbelt project, which would establish a solid park and trail system from the downtown area to the site of the city’s old solid waste transfer station.
    Until Monday, details of the negotiations had been mostly discussed behind closed doors, though Nichols confirmed the list price for the property to be $480,000.

    April 23, 2014

  • Council tables cell tower permit apps

    Tahlequah city councilors on Monday opted to hold off on approval of two special-use permit applications that would help AT&T install a couple of 150-foot cell towers within the city.
    Branch Communications is asking for the permits as it attempts to construct two monopole cell towers – one on Commercial Road near Green Country Funeral Home, and another at the Tahlequah Public Schools bus barn on Pendleton Street. Other towers are being built outside of the city limits.
    Members of the city’s planning and zoning board gave their OK for both permits last month.

    April 23, 2014

  • SR-WalkaMile1.jpg Walk a Mile 2014

    Men squeezed into feminine footwear Saturday by the hundreds to walk in solidarity with women on the issue of sexual violence – and their clop-clop-clopping echoed down Muskogee Avenue.
    The fourth annual “Walk a Mile In Her Shoes” brought men to Norris Park, accompanied by their enthusiastic female supporters, to walk – and often wobble – in high heels over a mile-long course to raise funds for Help-In-Crisis.
    “It hurts every year,” said John Christie, a Sequoyah High School student participating in his third Walk a Mile. “I get home, sit down, blisters come up and the calves hurt. But it is worth it. It’s for a good cause.”

    April 22, 2014 2 Photos

  • adams-christopher.jpg Michigan man gets 13 years on plea to rape, sodomy of girl

    A 28-year-old Michigan man will spend about 13 years in an Oklahoma state prison after pleading guilty to four counts of first-degree rape and one count of sodomy involving a 13-year-old girl.
    Christopher Dale Adams, of Lake Orion, Mich., received a 13-year prison sentence for each of the five charges, to be followed by seven years suspended. All sentences will run concurrently.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • logan-amy.jpg Police take down pair on pot distribution charge

    Tahlequah police officers arrested a pair Sunday night for allegedly possessing marijuana with the intent to distribute it.
    Tahlequah Officer Cody Warren said police were asked to investigate when 35-year-old Amy N. Logan, of Tahlequah, allegedly took a family member’s car without permission.
    While Warren was speaking with the owners of the vehicle, Logan arrived along with 26-year-old Theoplilus James Mollie, of Tulsa.

    April 22, 2014 2 Photos

  • land-lisa.jpg Two nailed with meth, pot hidden in bag of chips

    Two people were arrested early Monday morning when Tahlequah police stopped a vehicle near Basin Avenue and found methamphetamine and marijuana hidden in a bag of chips.
    Tahlequah Officer Cory Keele said he noticed a Nissan heading north on Park Hill Road, and the vehicle later stopped in an intersection.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

Poll

How confident are you that the immunizations for infants and children are reasonably safe?

Not at all confident.
Somewhat confident.
Relatively confident.
Extremely confident.
undecided.
     View Results
Tahlequah Daily Press Twitter
Follow us on twitter
AP Video
Stocks