Jeff Willmore

When I was interviewed for this position I was sent on a practicum. I was directed up on site to walk around and scout out maintenance issues and come up with a list of priorities. When completed, I returned to the office and at the top of that ‘to do’ list was the west wall of the Colbert Barn. This part of the massive log structure was rotted in at least 6 logs, bowed out like a beer belly and had holes large enough that raccoons were passing through the walls like ghosts. It was an absolute wreck, and that was at least eight years ago. This season we have finally repaired it and this column is the story of that contract.

As it turned out, log repairs are not an easy thing to contract. There are precious few contractors in the business and most that are concern themselves with new log-home construction almost exclusively. These facts made for an often fruitless telephone and e-mail campaign as I beat the bushes trying to scare someone up that might look at the thing. After a little homework I had things narrowed down to four contenders, three within Southwestern Ontario and another in the Ottawa area. The local three all made a great racket about how they would love to do the work and then promptly stopped returning my phone calls...

Eight months ago, staff and volunteers moved the operation of Fanshawe Pioneer Village into the new Spriet Family Visitor Centre. Our first season with this new building is rapidly coming to a close and what a difference it has made!

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...