Volunteers completing exterior of historical Stump Hotel

By Bob Weaver

Calhoun's first historical restoration project - the Stump Hotel - has had some bumpy times, since a grant was received over seven years ago.

Bob Bonar, president of the Calhoun County Historical Society, said the preservation venture has experienced "lots of challenges."

Bonar, earlier this year, acknowledged the local group has been without funds to do much with the project.

Volunteers have now picked up the project to replace the wood on two exterior walls. The walls were covered with plastic when Olentangy Restoration left the project in 2004.

Volunteer Roger Jarvis, a member of the Calhoun Historical Society, said "There are a number of volunteers helping to complete the outside walls, and we hope to recognize them all."

Roger Jarvis (L) and Tony Collins (R) replacing outside
wall of Stump Hotel, with help from other volunteers

A 1999 grant was given to the Calhoun Historical Society for $208,000, obtained through Vandalia Heritage Foundation and the efforts of Congressman Alan Mollohan.

Following guidelines, an architect charged about $35,000 to develop the project.

Laura Kuhns, Vandalia's director, said the agency had oversight on the project, but Olentangy, the restoration company, somehow failed to complete the outside of the structure and infrequently worked on the project. She said the contract never called for re-roofing the building, although the company did put on a new roof.

The society recently announced a new Vandalia grant for renovation on an adjacent building, formerly known as the State Farm-Quality Shop building.

That building has been designated to collect and preserve local and regional history, including family research.

Vandalia did not respond to a public information request regarding the amount of the grant, which reportedly is $5,000. The funds will be used for interior and exterior repairs in 2007.

The Stump Hotel was donated by Dr. Charles Albert Stump of Daytona, Florida, with the historical society purchasing a building adjacent to the hotel, the Quality Shop-State Farm building.

Dr. Stump's family originally owned and operated the hotel.

Bonar says the society has sponsored the development of the historic village at the county park, which now includes four structures, a school. post office, blacksmith shop and a country store.

Bonar praised local citizens ands members of the society for their work on Heritage Village at the Calhoun Park, saying "There has been a lot of hard work by a few people to make it happen."

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