The much-anticipated repairs to Carroll County’s most historic home began Thursday with the removal of stained-glass and specialty windows.
The Carroll County Historical Society took over ownership of the J. Sidna Allen House in Fancy Gap in December of 2014. Since that time, the group has been raising money and finalizing plans to restore the magnificent Queen Anne-style home, built in 1911 by Allen, who hired only best craftsmen in the county for construction of his family’s dream home. Upon its completion, it was considered by many to be the finest home in Carroll County.
The home would forever be linked to Carroll County history a year later, on March 14, 1912, when the Carroll County Courthouse Tragedy resulted in a shootout that left five people dead. For his part in the episode, Allen was sentenced to 35 years in the state penitentiary.
On Thursday, the plans of many planned repairs and improvements began on the home with the removal of stained-glass and specialty windows. The removal of the priceless and historic windows actually serves multiple purposes before work to the foundation of the home begins. Leaving the windows in while the foundation of the house is being jacked up would most likely result in glass breakage.
“That’s the concern, that these windows will take a lot of work to repair. To replace them is going to be even more, so we are trying to protect them as best as we can,” said Ed Stanley, President of the Carroll County Historical Society. “They will be taking them out and restoring them and repairing them as needed as the house is jacked up and stabilized. We started today removing the windows that need to be restored. The ones that are not special, we won’t take them out. If the glass breaks it’s not a big thing. The stained glass windows and the windows that have beveled edges, all of them are coming out.”
Stanley and the Historical Society are hopeful that the foundation of the house can be jacked up within the next few weeks. Excavating will have to be done prior to that to get the framework under the house before lifting the foundation. Regardless, Stanley said the Historical Society is just thrilled restorations have officially begun.
“Absolutely, it’s very helpful for people seeing things happening to the building. For a good while when we were early in the fundraising, people would drive by and say there is nothing happening. They were concerned about that,” Stanley said. “So now we think people driving by can see something going and it’s going to raise the enthusiasm of the folks around here.”
Removing the stained-glass windows and specialty glass Thursday were David and Veronica Bennett of Meadows of Dan. The couple owns Bennett Glass Art and normally makes art glass for sale, although they have done restorations for restaurants, hotels and put in 600-square feet of stained and blown glass in the Mellow Mushroom in Greensboro, N.C.
“We are excited to get to work on this project,” David Bennett said. “This a lot of fun for us.”
Allen Worrell can be reached by calling (276) 779-4062 or on Twitter@AWorrellTCN