A well-timed visit to the Whitehall Historical Society's offices prevented what might have been catastrophic flood damage.
The benevolence of a Worthington contractor allowed the society to avoid any further damage the almost-flood likely would have caused.
Historical society trustee Ward Sager, on the morning of Feb. 6, was making a typical checkup at the offices -- located in a Lustron house and garage at the south end of Whitehall Community Park, 402 N. Hamilton Road -- when he heard the sound of running water.
Water service to the house and the garage are turned off at the valve during the winter, Sager said, so to hear the sound of spraying water was unexpected -- and an indicator of a larger problem: a burst pipe.
"I stop by about four times a week to get the mail and check up on things," Sager said, but his timing was fortunate, said Steve McLoughlin, past president of the historical society, as even a few more hours would have resulted in standing water above the carpeted floors of the house and garage.
The Lustron home -- one of about 2,500 prefabricated homes built after World War II by the Columbus-based Lustron Corp. -- initially was erected in London, Ohio, in 1949. Its owners donated the house to the Whitehall Historical Society in 2003, and it was reassembled at Community Park two years later to serve as the society's headquarters.
The distinctive houses that remain in use "enjoy an iconic status among owners and fans throughout the country," according to the society.
After discovering the burst pipe, Sager arranged for a plumber to make a quick repair, but it was not until the next day that Whitehall's Parks and Recreation Department employees were able to shut off water service at the main valve.
"They had to look around a little for it and dig 5 feet down," McLoughlin said.
Meanwhile, McLoughlin said he used a pump to clear standing water that had collected in the crawl space beneath both the Lustron house and garage.
But the society still faced a problem: condensation on walls, windows and even furnishings caused by high levels of humidity.
"When I first came, the humidity readings were in the low 90 percent range," said Patrick Martin, manager of Mammoth Restoration and Cleaning.
"The walls were literally sweating," he said.
Matt Farris, owner of Worthington-based Mammoth Restoration and Cleaning, donated in-kind services of $1,120 after learning the society did not have the budget to cover its $1,000 hazard-insurance deductible for such service.
Sager and McLoughlin met with Martin on Feb. 8 and received a $1,120 estimate for the work Feb. 13, the same day the society learned through its treasurer, Larry Zapp, that its insurance policy carries a $1,000 deductible the society did not have in its budget.
After Zapp explained why the society could not accept the estimate, Farris offered to provide the service at no cost, McLaughlin said.
Farris said the company "welcomes the opportunity to help support the communities" in which they work.
A crew from Mammoth set up industrial dehumidifiers inside both structures Feb. 18, checked them daily and removed the equipment Feb. 22.
McLoughlin said it has been through the support of the city of Whitehall, its business community and now, Mammoth that the historical society was able to establish itself and remain in existence.