Heritage Restoration at Fanshawe Pioneer Village for the 2013 Season

Jeff Wilmore

It happens to me all the time. People come up to me, often complete strangers, with bated breath and looks of concerned anticipation, asking if I would please, please tell them about my latest capital projects. My reaction is often muted, being a humble servant of local history; I lower my head and scuff the ground with my boot and say aw-shucks it’s not much, just a few little goings-on, nothing that would be of any real interest to anyone. But how they press me, seems they can’t get enough, they are feverish for even the smallest scrap. So, to keep the public calm and appease the roaring demand, I offer this tale of two projects; the Caverhill Woodworking Shop and our Print Shop.

The Woodworking Shop project is now nearing completion. The building was moved to its new location in the spring and now carpentry improvements are underway. A new deck with access ramping and stairs to the side door are now in place. Some minor structural repairs have been made and siding has been replaced as necessary. Under the building, ties will fasten the structure to the foundation and because it is unheated, vapour barriers will keep moisture from wicking up. At the north side of the building a large concrete pad is now installed. This will serve as a clean and solid base for power we may use in the future to run the shop’s equipment. This pad is multi-functional and will allow for anything from an antique tractor to a stationary steam engine or even a horse power to be used. The final work for this project will be grading to accommodate the ramping and site remediation. By late summer or early fall everything should be in place and the Caverhill Woodworking Shop will be working hard as an interpretive station.

The Print Shop however is at the other end of the capital project spectrum. This bit of business is just underway and still in the planning process. The course of action is to move it from its present location to a spot just next to the Denfield General Store. This will be a pivotal re-location within the Town of Fanshawe Cluster. The engineering work has been done and initial drawings for the construction of the foundation are completed. Things are moving along fine and the application for a building permit should be submitted by the time you read this.

It has been an interesting process with this little building. We have no way of seeing under the building to confirm how the joists are positioned; we have only a vague notion. You see, this small structure is an odd one; it was cobbled together in three sections, the main part and two additions. This fact confuses the structure underneath and makes it difficult to plan. However I am confident we can work this problem out and secure the building permit in time to tender and get the project underway. Work will start in the fall and be complete before year’s end.

At risk of causing complete pandemonium I will tell you, dear reader that these are two of the last major capital projects. It’s not merely the end of the beginning, but more precisely, the beginning of the end for the reconfiguration of this site as laid out in our master plan way back in 2004. I realize this news may come as a shock, but if you can, remain calm and please see someone about that fever.

Jeff Willmore
Manager of Buildings