Father, son, grandson make museum's 150-year-old windows like 'new'
By Jessie Burchette
The 150-year-old Rowan Museum at 202 N. Main St. is sporting “new” windows.
A month of careful repair work and a new coat of paint has transformed the windows, giving them a new look.
“They were in horrible, horrible shape,” said Kaye Hirst, the museum’s executive director. Some of the glass was about to fall out of windows on the Council Street side.
The windows are the original windows installed in the building prior to its opening in the mid-1800s as the county courthouse.
As the windows deteriorated, it has become increasingly difficult to heat or air condition the building.
“It’s been very cold or very hot,” Hirst said. “There’s a lot of glass in this building.”
To be exact, the three-story building sports 36 large, 12-pane windows.
Grover C. Miller, an 83-year-old contractor, his son and grandson did the project.
“They did a wonderful job,” Hirst said, marveling at the efforts of the Millers to repair the wood, scrape, fill and reglaze.
And the Millers did it without breaking a single pane of the 150-year-old glass.
The repair, restoration and painting took a month.
The county, which owns the building, plans at least two more improvements for Rowan Museum:
– Storm windows of a type already installed on the courthouse that received approval from the Historic Preservation Commission.
Hirst said adding sealer windows will reduce heating and air-conditioning costs.
And the windows will also serve as a light filter, helping protect many of the historic items on display in the museum.
– Repair and painting of the eaves and decorative woodwork around the top of the building.
Hirst calls the decorative items “Legos.”
“They look like gigantic Legos. They’re made of heart pine with forged nails. They’ll last forever,” she explained.
The museum foundation’s board of directors appreciates county commissioners’ willingness to allocate money for the repairs and improvements, Hirst said.
In June 2007, commissioners approved $100,000 for museum improvements. The window restoration and painting cost around $25,000.