As any family home needs constant maintenance, some of Ancaster’s historical buildings also need some tender, loving care each year.
Old Town Hall, at 310 Wilson St., is no different, says Ian Kerr-Wilson, manager of museums and heritage presentations.
“Much like your home, these buildings, especially ones that have a lot of people using them, need constant attention,” said Kerr-Wilson.
Work is scheduled to begin this week on the iconic building to shore up the foundation walls, improve the flooring and do some grading work, said Kerr-Wilson. The project is scheduled to take about seven weeks with a Sept. 15 deadline.
While the improvements are not at a critical point, the work needs to be done to keep the town hall, built in 1871, from suffering more serious structural problems in the future.
“We do inspections on all of our historical buildings,” said Kerr-Wilson. “We are catching up on some of the repairs that have to be made. This is not an emergency.”
The grading, for instance, needs to be completed to relieve some of the stress on the Georgian stone building’s foundations. The ground-floor joists will be repaired, and the foundation and floor will be updated and replaced. At one point city officials talked about raising the building to make the repairs, but Kerr-Wilson said the decision was to limit the intrusive construction as much as possible. There is a crawl space workers will be able to access.
Kerr-Wilson said the tender for the project is about $150,000.
The former town hall was the seat of municipal government when it was originally constructed. In 2013 the city closed the building in August to repair the plaster and ceiling at a cost of about $133,000. Other work that has been done includes installing air conditioning, painting the modern addition and replacing the linoleum in the back addition.
In 2011 the building had repairs made to correct structural and grading issues and for cornice restoration.
The much admired and well-used public facility has been historically recognized for its four facades, chimney, cupola, tongue and groove Italian-bead wainscoting and plaster architecture, including the cove ceiling and plaster molding.