Help Lead This American Heritage into the Future!
Many small preservation projects have been accomplished.
A few big ones remain.
Many small improvements: Thanks to the generous support of many small -- and a few large -- donors, the Boal Mansion Museum has been able to accomplish many improvements to the Boal Mansion Museum site which is listed on the National Register of Historic Sites by the US Department of the Interior.
Included in repairs recently completed by AR Building & Materials of Howard, Pennsylvania, are:
1) Replacement of the exterior wall stucco of the front porch, where the old horse-hair plaster was pock-marked and falling off.
2) Reroofing of the exhibit building housing the weapons and the country life exhibit, where roof leaks were threatening the collection.
3) Reconstruction and patching of the stucco of exterior walls between the pioneer stone cabin door and the east window of the ballroom
4) Replacement of the second-story exterior wall of the administrative office above the cloak room and reflashing nearby to end a persistent leak in the kitchen hallway
5) Repair and replacement of rotted and deteriorated woodwork and pillar footings on the east side of the servants quarters (now called the middle house)
6) Reconstruction of two stone bridge piers damaged by machinery when it was removing the immense trunk of a 100-year-old oak tree and replacement of seven bridge planks that had deteriorated.
And in the spring, Johnny Pons and friends from Calvary Baptist Church repainted the exterior stucco and trim of the ballroom alcove. All these projects have much improved the appearance of the site.
What’s waiting? The big stuff. Waiting for a concerted effort and major donors are:
1) Reroofing the Mansion – hundreds of thousands of dollars to do it right. But in terms of life cost, less expensive than doing it two or three times in a generation. Leaks today are threatening even the first floor, so this is a past-due project.
2) Conserving the Chapel statues. Improving HVAC and more in the chapel. A $50,000 project seeking support from national groups associated with Columbus among others.
3) The ultimate vision – a new building consolidating the museum functions of reception, administration, exhibit etc etc.
And this list doesn’t reflect what may be needed to continue the Boal Barn as a summer theater, something in which many people have expressed an interest.
Why do this? Here are the unsolicited words of one friend of the site from long ago: A message posted to the Columbus Chapel Facebook page from Lance Breisch:
“I first visited the mansion and chapel in 1975, a personal guided tour by our friend Chris Lee. These are among the most personally historic places I have visited. My family is Italian (Grandfather came to Ellis Island and did not speak English). I will never forget the experience of seeing and actually touching the Columbus Chapel and landmark mansion the Lee family has passed down for so many generations. To be sure, you will not see in the United States a more important or older landmark than the family chapel of America's discoverer, Christopher Columbus. This should have been Federally funded for the last century. The Lee family has blessed us with both preserving and sharing this special piece of history. Thank you Chris for devoting your life to preserving and promoting such important landmarks.”
Comments like these of Lance Breisch are what inspires the Boal Mansion Museum team to carry on with the ongoing preservation and conservation of this important heritage asset.
Photos below: Many small projects accomplished. Click on the photos to see a larger view.