Dublin Villager

Restored farm house to be classroom space in new park

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Renovations will soon begin on one of Dublin's first frame homes.

Dublin City Council members last month approved a $198,000 contract with Structural Erectors to renovate and preserve the Wright-Holder House that sits on future park land east of Riverside Drive and south of Bright Road.

"In the future it will be utilized as indoor classroom space (and) artifact display," said Fred Hahn, Dublin's Parks and Open Space director.

"Everything will be specific to that park," Hahn said.

The park won't open for a few years, because its entry will be from the final Emerald Parkway extension, but Hahn said the work was needed now.

"The reason we're doing it now ... is to protect the house," he said.

"It's been unoccupied for a few years and is starting to go downhill. We want to preserve it. Part of this is preservation as well."

The home, built more than 100 years ago on the farm land, won't be in the park as it currently stands.

"The original part of the house was built in 1840 and after that period of time, throughout the years a few additions were added on," Hahn said.

"At one point they added country front porches," he said.

"The original home was just a square. They added porches, they added a bathroom (and) at some point in time the porches were enclosed."

Dublin plans to take the home back to how it appeared at the turn of the century, Hahn said, and figured out plans from old family photos.

"As far as the family and the architect can figure, it was around the turn of the 20th century when the porches were added and that's what we're going back to," he said.

"We have to do some demolition work first. It will be more of a house with a front porch, side porch (and) no restroom in it," Hahn said. "It's very historically correct."

Inside wood floors will be refinished and some of the plaster was made with a horse hair mixture, but most of the ornate architecture seen in old homes isn't in the Wright-Holder House.

"When the house was first built and in subsequent additions, this was a farm house," Hahn said.

"This is bare bones. There weren't any elaborate architectural features, it's just a basic country home."

Some archeological work will be done after the demolition of a part of the house that was built into a mound.

"In contract documents we put in there that after the demolition of the front of the house we get a window of time to go in and do a type of archeological examination," Hahn said.

"It's just to give us a couple weeks to see when they did that original construction 100 years ago, if they covered anything of archeological relevance."

Renovations at the Wright-Holder House are expected to be completed this year, although more movement in the future park is dependent on phase eight of the Emerald Parkway extension that will connect the road to Sawmill Road.

"We're anticipating next year that we get into design for the next phase of the park," Hahn said.

"Right now the schedule for the next phase is in 2015, assuming Emerald Parkway is done and waiting on us."

The city is currently finalizing land acquisitions for the final phase of Emerald Parkway and a contract for construction could be issued as soon as this fall.

The next phase of the park includes restrooms, a visitor orientation area and pedestrian bridge that will take visitors over a creek.

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