In 1974, the staff and volunteers of Old City Park built our reproduction Victorian bandstand, and since that time, it’s been a visual centerpiece of the museum.
For decades, it was the main image of our logo.
It’s been an important part of various museum events and activities.
And for some people, the bandstand has been the spot for important personal memories.
Earlier this fall, staff began work to repair the steps of the bandstand. During that routine maintenance activity, we discovered wood rot at the top of the columns. The bandstand was also leaning heavily to one side, and the deterioration of the columns made them unable to support the weight of the roof. We immediately roped off the entire structure and erected some temporary supports.
Evelyn called in some experts to help us figure out the best way to stabilize the bandstand until money can be raised for complete repair. This week, workers began on the plan that is both safest and best prepares the structure for full repair. Workers have removed the gingerbread, added additional supports to the column and used a crane to remove the roof intact, and set it on blocking on the ground near the bandstand.
Bracing can then hold the columns upright until they can be repaired. We hope to be able to salvage much of the outer, wooden portions of the columns, but we will have to refabricate most of the decorative gingerbread trim. Then the roof will be placed back on the columns.
This method of stabilization not only insures the safety of the roof, which is in fine shape, but positions us well for final repairs. With the roof removed, it will be easy and safe to work on the columns. Their original design called for structural metal in the center of the visible wooden columns, an excellent strategy for added strength. Unfortunately, the metal stopped about two feet below the roof, with only wood above, and it is at that point where we find wood rot and visible bending, the clear sign of impending failure.
The total cost of this repair project is around $30,000. Various board members have already stepped forward with some in-kind donations to assist with this project. After Candlelight, we received a surprise grant of $5,000. Gary, Evelyn and I are all working on various other funding options, and we hope that this money will be raised quickly. And yes, we will be turning to you to help us literally “support” the bandstand and “raise the roof.” That being said, we can’t predict when the bandstand will be whole again.