Ohio’s historic buildings are worth preserving because they create a sense of place in cities across the state, said an architect Lorain who has worked on restorations in northern Ohio.
Wellington became the historic preservation capital of Ohio for a day for the Heritage Ohio workshop “Get Hands-On: Caring For Your Aged Buildings”.
Heritage Ohio coordinates Ohio’s Main Street program to preserve âthe historic commercial architecture and fabric of the built environment of American communities,â while improving business opportunities for downtown towns and villages.
The workshop was part of Heritage Ohio’s continuing education on the four areas of community branding: organization, design, promotions and economic development.
It was expected two years ago before the novel coronavirus pandemic, said Jenny Arntz, executive director of Main Street Wellington.
Arntz credited Main Street Medina executive director Matt Wiederhold with suggesting holding the event in Wellington – in part because he hoped to visit the historic village hall.
The Nord Family Foundation also sponsored the session.
Lorain architect Gary Fischer opened the seminar with his descriptions of working with historic buildings, including the Duane Building, 401 Broadway in downtown Lorain.
Downtown Lorain is like the living room of a community and it’s the first thing people see when visiting a city, said Fischer, a 35-year-old architect.
Heritage Ohio has the best preservation slogan out there – âThis place matters,â he said.
Communities like Wellington could cover buildings with vinyl siding and be finished, Fischer said.
“But why is this place important?” ” He asked. “It’s my home, isn’t it?” Home for many people.
Looking at Lorain, it’s possible to see the lack of conservation and its benefits, Fischer said.
The Duane Building was an abandoned horror, but its owner, businessman Lorain Jon Veard, was ready to restore it.
The day Fischer completed his plans for the structure, a squatter inside started a fire that severely damaged the top floor, he said.
Historic preservation tax credits helped pay for the restoration, Fischer said.
Owning an old building is a labor of love, he said.
Buildings suffer from two major factors: water and movement.
Sealing a roof will solve a myriad of problems, Fischer said.
But finding the causes of problems is sometimes like a forensic examination to find out why something happened or work was done, he said.
In an ongoing project, owners of two historic barns in central Ohio are spending more to restore them than the cost of a new one, Fischer said.
The owners care about saving them, he said.
For anyone considering purchasing a historic building, Fischer suggested working with an architect early on in the process.
Information can be invaluable – and sometimes the advice is to “flee” when a building is too far away to be saved, he said.
The program attracted about three dozen people from communities around Ohio.
Speakers included Frances Jo Hamilton, Director of Revitalization at Heritage Ohio, and Lindsay Jones, owner of Columbus-based Blind Eye Restoration.
True to its name, the seminar included hands-on presentations from contractors who demonstrated tools and materials used to repair windows, woodwork, masonry and metal.
On October 1 and 2, Main Street Wellington will host the Fall in Love with Wellington festival, as well as the F1rst Fr1day party downtown, with sidewalk sales and kid-friendly activities.
For more information, visit mainstreetwellington.org.
Heritage Ohio will hold its annual conference October 18-20 in Springfield.
More information is available at heritageohio.org.