COLUMBIANA – The city is working to preserve the history of a building in Columbiana Cemetery.
The city has begun restoration of what is commonly referred to as the historic Old Cemetery Chapel over the past year, with the first step being the replacement of the roof.
City manager Lance Willard said the roof was completed this spring and the material was a dimensional shingle resembling slate.
The next stage of the project is a renovation of the building’s white shingle exterior, starting on the south side, Willard said.
He expects the project to take about two years and cost between $15,000 and $20,000. Money for the renovation will come from the city’s capital improvement fund, and some has already been included in this year’s budget, he added.
“We let the park board and the historical society know what we are doing. We gave them the assurance that we were going to make it look like it is now, just stronger. he said.
Nora Salmen, curator of the Columbiana-Fairfield Township Historical Society’s Log House Museum, said the building’s architecture is “pretty unusual.”
She explained that it is a stick building, which is a particular style of architecture that dates back to the American style of the late 19th century and is also a combination of the Queen Anne style.
Salmen said she was not aware of any other stick-style buildings in the state.
She went on to say that in 1979, a committee within the historical society had a heritage marker placed on the building to commemorate the historic architectural style.
Although commonly referred to as a chapel, it is unknown if the building actually functioned as a chapel.
Instead, it has been used as an office for the sextons, or caretakers, of the cemetery over the years.
Willard said the building was and is currently used for storage. He said there’s a chance it could be used for other purposes once the project is finished, but he doesn’t know what yet.
Salmen said the historical society is grateful the city is working to preserve the building.
“We are really excited that they are doing this,” she says.
She also said the historical society hopes to put another marker on the building at the end of the project that further details its history.
Roofing and renovations are done by Santini Builders of Washingtonville.