Worthington News

Orange Johnson House

Historical society gets grant to fix roof

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This picture shows a section of roof on the Orange Johnson House. Roof shingles are warped and discolored.

The Orange Johnson House is scheduled for some routine maintenance this summer.

The Worthington Historical Society will allocate $14,500 for a new roof on the original 1811 section of the house, located to the rear of the property, 956 High St.

The Ohio Historical Society contributed $8,500 -- about 60 percent -- for the project, and the Worthington Historical Society will spend $6,000.

The work received a bulk of the funding through the Ohio Historical Society's History Fund, a competitive matching-grants program funded by Ohioans through the "tax checkoff" on their state income-tax return. The matching funds came from a Worthington benefactor who left money to be earmarked solely for the maintenance of the Orange Johnson House, said Kate LaLonde, executive director of the Worthington Historical Society.

The roof has deteriorated significantly, especially since having extensive chimney work and tuck-pointing done in 2010, LaLonde said.

Wood shingles have been blowing into the garden and clogging the downspouts, LaLonde said.

"It's on the top of our list of all of the things that need to be done," she said of the work.

The house, open only on Sundays and other days by appointment only, should not affect visitor hours, she said.

At the corner of High and North streets in Old Worthington, it is one of the most significant historic attractions in the community, LaLonde said. It is filled with early Worthington furniture, artifacts, archives and reproductions of materials that would have been found in homes of the time, she said.

"One of the things that's really important about it is it is the oldest known structure on its original foundation that's open to the public in central Ohio," she said.

The Worthington Historical Society community maintains three properties in the city: the Orange Johnson House; society administrative offices, built in 1945, at 50 W. New England Ave.; and the Jeffers Mound, a Hopewell Indian mound, on Pleasant Drive.

When renovating a property, the society goes by federal historic preservation guidelines, which are expensive both in labor and material costs, LaLonde said.

"We want to do some restoration work on the mound," she said. "There's a window project coming up at the Orange Johnson House. We always welcome donations."

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