Poland Historical Society to restore ‘window into the past’
By Jordyn Grzelewski
In the near future, the building that is home to the Poland Historical Society will be brought closer in line with its past.
With help from the Ohio History Connection, the society is set to restore eight windows at the Little Red Schoolhouse on Center Road. The project’s purpose is not only to repair damage to the windows but also match them to their original state from the building’s construction in 1858.
“Part of our mission is to preserve the history and the historical nature of buildings. ... So we want to take this back to the character from the 1800s,” said PHS President Larry Baughman.
In order to do that, the project contractor, Ace Lumber, will meticulously take apart each window and evaluate whether any of the materials can be salvaged for restoration.
Historical society members believe some of those materials – such as the wavy glass in some window panes – have been in place since the schoolhouse was built.
The easier – and cheaper – route would have been for the society to simply replace the damaged windows with, for example, vinyl. Members, however, feel strongly the schoolhouse should be brought back as close as possible to its original state, especially since it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
“This building is a window into the past,” said project committee member Dick Dale.
To that end, project planners – Dale, Ron Eiselstein, Pete Sturbi and Baughman – carefully followed National Park Service recommendations on historic restoration, a factor that they believe played a role in their successful acquisition of Ohio History Connection funding.
The Poland Historical Society was one of 14 organizations out of 63 applications to receive Ohio History Fund grants this year. The history fund is a matching-grant program
funded by voluntary contributions from taxpayers who choose to “check off” the fund on their income-tax forms.
Ohio History Connection reportedly saw a steep decline in contributions in 2015. PHS members said they encourage taxpayers to give to the program.
“It’s important for us to preserve the history of Ohio, not just our little community here in Poland, but all historical sites,” Baughman said. “There’s a great need for history preservation, so that’s why we’re trying to promote people checking it off on their taxes.”
The history fund contributed $6,327 to the cost of the window-rehabilitation project, which represents 60 percent of the total cost. The society has raised some of the other funds through a private donation and a donation from the township, and is working to raise an additional $2,500.
Restoration work is set to begin in May and slated to be completed by year’s end.