Friday, June 25, 2010

Kevin's Birthday Present

Now I know that most people don't like receiving letters from the State, I know under most circumstances that I certainly don't (I don't know how many times they can mess up and fumble a tax return, but it seems to happen to me with regularity). However, this post is about a time when, finally, I don't mind seeing that state seal and official envelope.

First a bit of back story. If you are reading this then you know that we are restoring Walnut Manor and you know that it needs a lot of restoration. In an effort to aid in this endeavor we spent an exorbitant amount of time this winter working on a preservation grant proposal. Essentially any time that wasn't spent digging out of or shoring up damage from Snowmageddon parts I and II was spent writing, re-writing and re-re-writing this grant application. The grant that we applied for is for a matching grant meaning that we need to come up with at least 50% of the cash/work to be done on as part of the project. So quite a bit of time was spent figuring out how much we could spend what exactly our labor was worth to the state. Of course we couldn't have done it without the help from Stephen the genius restoration carpenter that we've come to know.
Anyway, I'm sure you get the gist. . .lots of work, lots of snow and then lots and lots of waiting.

We were hoping that we'd hear something back about the grant before the actual start of the grant period (all the work being done has to be done in a year starting July 1 ending June 30) so we'd have time to put the work out to bid and actually start on Day 1. But things being what they are with large organizations, we're ecstatic to have heard anything before July.

So long story short, we finally got word from the state (dated on Kevin's birthday) that they found our grant application compelling enough to issue us a grant. Not for all we asked for, not that we expected to get everything we asked for since we proposed a grant worth more than they could give to any single project, but they did find our project to be worth about 1/2 of what we proposed. All in all, better than we had anticipated and a great birthday present.

Now let the work begin.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Random People Rock!

Sorry that its been so long since I've blogged. Our grant application has been turned in and we are in a holding pattern until July when the results are announced. We haven't done any work lately on the house as we have been busy volunteering for the city. Kevin and I are helping to plan the Charles Town Heritage Festival so house stuff has taken a back seat. Now that the festival plans are off to a good start we are going to get back to the restoration project at hand...

Today we got a surprise in the mail. An anonymous package arrived addressed to "Restoration of Walnut Manor" Inside was a card that read,

"In memory of those who have blessed the Brown-Shugart home with their presence. May these memories bless your family. Thank you for restoring such a magical place as it has touched he hearts and lives of many."

Inside the card was a large donation of cash with a note that read "Weathervane? for restoration"

We don't know who sent this generous gift but we are so thankful for the donation to the cause of restoring this beautiful Victorian treasure! I do not have the words to express my gratitude for this wonderful gift...

The weathervane is truly our crowning jewel and now we might actually be able to have it remade!

Thank you, thank you, thank you whoever you are!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Broken Weathervane

I went outside today and noticed that the weathervane broke in half. It has been very nice out with no wind so, I cannot blame this damage on the elements. I am afraid that it won't be possible to restore the weathervane as it is most certainly rusted through. The most we can hope for would be to save the pieces and have it remade.

Does anyone out there know of a place that has antique weathervanes or makes reproductions?

I am so sad. This weathervane was the crowning jewel of the house. literally.

The grant application is going pretty well. The contractor estimates are coming in, we've taken lots of pictures and started writing. We have also received a bunch of letters of support. We can always use more though, so please send your letters ASAP!

Please enjoy another picture courtesy of Bob Graham. Its Leland, Barbara and Millie Shugart in front of the house. Take note of the crazy gutters!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Letters of Support Please!!!!!!!

I am not known for my I am very sorry to those of you that I am annoying with my persistance!

We still need as many letters of support as we can get! Anyone can write a letter, so if you would like to see the Brown-Shugart House (Walnut Manor) Restored, please send your letter ASAP. I have a handy dandy trusty guide that will make writing the letter quite painless! Please see it below...

We are also wanting to boost our friends and followers so we can show the state that people are watching this restoration. Friend us on Facebook, email address and Subscribe AND Follow our blog here! Following is different than subscribing, but why I don't know.

Many thanks in advance!

Charity Beth Long

Guide for Letters of Support

Thank you in advance for writing a letter of support! We appreciate you championing our restoration project. We could not do it without the cheerleading of our friends, family, neighbors and fellow preservationists! Below is information to assist you in writing your letter. Once your letter is complete, please email it (preferred) or send it to 633 S. Samuel St., Charles Town, WV 25414, so it may be included with the grant application packet.

The Grant Process
We are applying for a development grant for historic preservation from the state of West Virginia. These grants are 50/50 matching grants and are used to repair, replace and restore building elements that have deteriorated. Unless your building is open to the public, the work is limited to exterior features and indoor systems like electricity and plumbing can threaten the safety of the house. Priority is given to items like roofs and gutters.

Our Project
We have several projects for which we are applying for grant assistance. They include replacement, repair and painting of the roofs and the replacement of the gutters. The back porch floor needs to be replaced or repaired and we need many repairs to be made to the existing wood features of the house. We hope to finish the stripping of exterior paint and paint the whole house. We will also finish the restoration of the windows and have the dangerous exterior wiring changed and/or removed. We are going to include the rebuilding of the front brick wall and Victorian fence as well as the restoration of the weather vane that tops the tower roof.

Things to include in your letter
Your name and address

Address the letter to the Members of the Archives and History Commission, West Virginia Division Of Culture And History, State Historic Preservation Office, 1900 Kanawha Blvd., East, Charleston, WV 25305

State how you are related to the project
o Neighbor
o Descendant/ family of the Brown or Shugart families
o Community Organization
o Community leader
o Fellow preservationist
o Friend/ Family

Why you feel the restoration of the Brown-Shugart House is important

Why you feel that a grant should be awarded to this project

Make your letter personal!

Send the letter by March 27th (The application must be postmarked by March 31st)

Friday, February 26, 2010

This post brought to you by the letter W

This weathervane is one of my favorite features of the house. Until recently I have not been able to get a good picture of it. I borrowed my father-in-law's telephoto lense and was able to get some good pictures even though it was a very overcast day. I have known for a while that it needed to be restored since it actually is part of the roof top. I knew for sure that is was in rough shape when one day during a wind storm the letter W fell from the sky.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Millie in Blizzard of 1983

This photo is courtesy of Bob Graham who is Millie Shugart's great nephew. Millie is standing on the front walkway with Jeff and Trudy's house in the distance. The picture was taken after the blizzard of 1983 which totaled at 36 inches. Bob was kind enough to send this snapshot during our last snow storm. Its amazing how something as simple as weather can unite us...

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Snowpocalypse Damage

The massive amounts of snow have not been kind to our house! The other day I was working on the computer and heard (and felt) this soul rattling crash. It was our gutter being pulled off by big chunks of ice. As you can see the gutter was not in good shape so it was no surprise.
The weight of the snow has also proved to be too much for the front fence. The wall was unstable to start with but now its actually crumbling. We need to have the walls rebuilt, which will be expensive and complicated since they are retaining walls. We are going to include this project in the grant application, but there is little hope for getting funds for it since its not attached to the house.

On to some good news. Roxane Shugart's daughter Sue dropped by last week. Millie was Sue's grandmother. I gave her a brief tour through the chaos. She had only a few minutes to reminisce since she was driving back to New Jersey but it was great to meet her.

We are working on the grant application, so now is the time for you to make a difference! Please send us a letter of support to include with the application. The more community support we get, the more likely we'll be granted matching funds to complete the exterior restoration.

Thanks for reading!