Stump Hotel work back on track

Siding on rear of building will not be replaced by this contractor

By Bob Weaver

After months of intermittent work and much of the building being exposed, the contractor for the restoration of the Stump Hotel in Grantsville, says it is back on track.

The 1880 hotel is the first restoration project in Grantsville. It is a Main Street improvement that is expected to grace the community for years to come.

Calhoun Historical Society president Bob Bonar said he is hopeful the project will be completed soon.

The historic restoration has experienced numerous problems, more recently with the completion of the project which began last year.

The completion date was to have been June 1.

"We'll be done with the project within a couple weeks," said contractor Tom Snyder, owner of Olentangy Restorations of Marion, Ohio. He said the problems were resolved in a meeting held at the site a few weeks ago.

Snyder says it has been difficult getting all the entities on the same page to make decisions.

Snyder said his company will complete the siding on the front part of the structure, still leaving the back of the building unfinished.

He said some kind of cover will be placed over the exposed area, which will have to "be finished during a phase two of the project," providing funding is secured.

It was unclear if Olentangy's contract originally called for the completion of the outside of the hotel. The interior was to be finished later.

The historic restoration, which is being done with a $208,000 grant obtained in 1999 by Congressman Alan Mollohan, is under the banner of the Vandalia Heritage Foundation. Director Laura Kuhns declined two public information requests to comment on project problems.

About $38,000 of the money has gone to SEM, an architectural firm in Westerville, Ohio.

Architect J. Blair Frier made an on-site evaluation during May at the request of the Calhoun Historical Society and the Vandalia Heritage Foundation.

Frier listed 13 problems he found at the site related to roofing and carpentry, indicating Olentangy is responsible to make corrections.

Frier's report said there are problems with the plywood decking on the roof absorbing water with the panels beginning to delaminate, in addition to there being "sags."

He expressed concern that some of the woodwork was not treated properly with preservative, not using the proper porch columns, poor joinery, doors not matching drawing, providing new windows for the rear of the building, among other issues.

"In general, the job site and adjacent work area has not been kept up," he said, reminding the contractor the final date for completion was June 1.

Plans originally submitted by the architect for the Stump Hotel called for rather extensive renovation, with most bids exceeding the $208,000 grant.

Allegheny Restoration of Morgantown bid $407,750, City Window of Clarksburg bid $358,425 and the low bid was Olentangy Restoration of Marion, Ohio at $247,000.

The architect then down-sized the plans, apparently charging more money for his revisions.

Olentangy ended up with the contract.

The Calhoun Historical Society, with few members and limited resources, has completed several projects which will be enjoyed by the public, including the re-location and restoration of the one-room Steven's School and the Jarvis country store to the Calhoun County Park.

Those projects were completed by "dedicated volunteers," said society president Bonar.

The Stump Hotel and adjacent grounds were donated to the historical society by Dr. and Mrs. Charles Albert Stump of Daytona, Florida.

The society purchased the former Quality Shop-State Farm building next to the hotel and will be used as a family history center. It has been re-roofed.