PLEASANT HILL, Ky. — Two iconic buildings at Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill will get facelifts in the most significant project since restoration of the historic Kentucky site began in the 1960s, its administrators said.
The project to make improvements to the Centre Family Dwelling and the 1824 Meeting House will begin in June and take a year, the Lexington Herald-Leader (http://bit.ly/2qEZZq5 ) reported. The work will be paid through a $5 million grant from the Lilly Endowment.
Improvements will include heating and air conditioning, more interior lighting and better protection from water infiltration.
“It takes these two big buildings, the spiritual center of the village, and protects it in a way for many years to come,” said president and CEO Maynard Crossland.
The Centre Family Dwelling was where the religious sect known as the Shakers ate and slept. The 1824 Meeting House was where they performed the dances that gave them their name.
With 34 original Shaker structures, the Mercer County village is the country’s largest private collection of original 19th-century buildings, and is the largest National Historic Landmark in Kentucky, the newspaper reported. Its 3,000 acres include 1,200 acres of restored native prairie.
The Shakers lived in Mercer County from 1805 to 1910. They were known for their frugality, industriousness, the simplicity of their lives, and the excellence of their furniture, garden seeds and architecture.
A walk through the two buildings reveals paint peeling from interior walls. The two buildings have some 90 windows. Some sills slope downward, causing water to pool and rot the wood sashes. There is deterioration from the freezing and thawing of ice in the exterior stone of the Centre Family Dwelling. Its construction began in 1824 and was completed in 1834.
“Structurally, these buildings are very sound,” said William Updike, vice president of facilities management. “For being nearly 200 years old, it’s very impressive how sound they are. But the deterioration is what we need to stop because once you allow the water to infiltrate things, that’s when they start to break down.”
The doors, walls and configuration of the rooms will not change. Lighting fixtures in the Meeting House will be removed, and small LED lights will be recessed into the ceiling. Linear heating and air vents will also be nearly hidden in the ceiling.
During the rehab project, the buildings will be closed to the public, although there are plans to do some “hard hat tours” as work progresses.
An estimated 150,000 visitors come to Shaker Village each year.
Linda Rupp of Louisville applauded the restoration Shaker Village has done. She visited the site to get away from the constant bombardment of news out of Washington D.C.
“I’ll tell you one thing: When I get out here, it’s just so quiet,” Rupp said.
Information from: Lexington Herald-Leader, http://www.kentucky.com