Veteran’s Historicorps Project Goes to Wisconsin

                After another week of hard work, Joel Hardison, our helpful Archaeologist, fixed all of us up with some tickets to get into the NC Zoo. We enjoyed seeing some wildlife that wasn’t lurking in our campground. We also got to go zip lining that weekend, which proved to be a blast for everyone not too afraid of heights. After that a few of us played 9 holes of golf. Kai proved to be better at getting the ball in the hole by actually throwing it with his bare hands rather than using a golf club, which gave us all a laugh.

                When we got back to camp, we of course encountered more rain that continued throughout the week. However, we were able to work around its random showers and finish roofing most of the house. We completely finished the asphalt part and most of the steel roofing. The steel roofing went on much quicker than the asphalt. The steel was a lot brighter and shaded eye protection became a necessity up on the roof.

                Next, we set up three stories of scaffolding on both sides of the house so we could fix the chimneys. Since the house was so old, the owner actually had a fireplace in each room to heat the house, which explains why there was two big chimneys. One of the chimneys had fallen down from the shoulder up, so we had to rebuild a fake chimney to gain aesthetics. We mixed mortar and hauled it up for others to start mudding the chimneys back to their original form. One problem we encountered was all of the broken and unsecure plaster from the old chimneys. Besides them just being old, bees had burrowed into the mortar causing it to crumble. That debris had to be blown out with air before we could mortar it.

We had some help with all of this work for a week from some carpenters from Wisconsin. They were mostly retired men that do a couple projects for a week or two during the year. They taught us a lot of things that sped up certain tasks and different techniques.

                Meanwhile, windows were being finished with paint touch ups, quick weight rope adjustments, and finally putting the sashes back into their original places. The Wisconsin carpenters helped a lot with that.

                While people were finishing the windows, others were fixing and making the screens that would go over them. It finally felt like things were coming together. Soon we would all be heading to our next worksite in Wisconsin.

                The last day finally came and greeted us with the biggest thunderstorm filled with rain and wind that we had seen the whole time. I guess it was nature’s way of telling us goodbye and thanks. It was especially nice since the previous two days were sweltering hot.

                Our last morning we picked up last minute trash, packed, and said our goodbyes to the Farmer Volunteer Firefighters and Joel from the US Forest Service. It was bittersweet saying goodbye to our old friends and looking forward to making new ones.

                We are now in Wisconsin and are working at the Cow Palace at Forest Lodge. We realized when we got here that the “Cow Palace” is just a small part of this whole site that Mrs. Burke donated to the USFS after she passed away. There are 15 buildings and over 800 acres that this family owned and donated. Mrs. Burke owned several properties across the country, this being just one of them. It is good to be here where the snakes don’t bite so hard.  However, the mosquitoes do. It’s all worthwhile, though, because in the end we are helping preserve history.

                Today we got to start taking the old cedar shakes off of the roof. We will soon be getting new cedar shingles to put on. It’ll be interesting to put them on. The old ones are all rotted and have moss growing on them. Apparently people used to just flip the cedar shakes over and use the other side as if it was a new shake. Unfortunately, our deteriorated, moss-covered shakes are past the point of reuse.

 

                We drove into Cable, a nearby town, yesterday and checked out their library and Museum of Natural History. It was very homey and welcoming, and so were the people. We learned about some of the programs and events going on here in Bayfield County, so we will try to go to a few.