We all know the saying “The more things change, the more they stay the same.” Well, this feels particularly true of our recent work at the CAPE. Volunteers and local craftsmen continue to work diligently on the center’s restoration, but it’s hard to tell as you drive by. So we’re here to give you a longer look at some of the recent changes.
Rick Andrews and Bayside Joinery of Mathews, who already took on the daunting challenge of restoring the old garage door and other exterior wood elements of the building, are soon to install columns onto the gable roof. These simple square columns will restore one of the center’s most distinctive elements which have been missing since the 1960s. On each of the three columns, and at five other points on the roof’s edge, we will install replicated iron baskets holding globe lights that will illuminate the building as they did in the 1930s. The master blacksmith behind this element is John Latell of Lancaster County. This is also the perfect time to repair some of the broken shingles around the building, a task that will be taken on by Robbie Whitehurst (another local craftsman).
We continue to work with volunteers on repairs to the building’s interior and exterior details. For instance, Duke Shockley carefully cleaned the hardware for the window awning on the station’s east (Rt. 14) side. We then contracted with Bahama Breeze to reconstruct the awning, matching the colors with the building’s exterior and bringing this element back by early December. You’ll also notice some recent painting on various details of the exterior, including several of the windows, door surrounds, and segments of the foundation. There is more to do, but we are slowly but surely bringing this amazing landmark back to life. A restoration like this takes time, but we have benefitted from my generous individuals and organizations. Much of the recent work in particular is supported by a grant from the Gloucester Main Street Preservation Trust‘s Façade Improvement program.
Perhaps the most striking change to the building will come from the lights beneath the eaves. The green-shingled border near the top of the building will soon have nearly 60 lights illuminating the exterior, breathing light and life into its tarnished surface. This wiring is being completed by Patrick Karow with the outstanding support of Luxtera Electrical. Their generous donation of time and materials will indelibly change this gateway to Gloucester’s Main Street. To keep the lights on, we have an array of solar panels, installed by Off Grid by Design and supported through a generous grant from Dominion Virginia Power. The solar panels will generate the majority of the energy we need to operate the center, and we will sell back the excess energy to Dominion through their recently initiated Solar Buy Back program.
All these improvements are pushing us closer to our goal of opening the Center for Archaeology, Preservation and Education (C.A.P.E.) in 2014. Keep track of our progress by following our blogs and facebook updates, and take a look at the building whenever you drive through the intersection. Soon we will be able to extend our educational programs and further the study and preservation of Middle Peninsula history from this amazing restored building, adding another point of pride to our community and exhibiting the great significance and integrity of the region’s history.