The Holiday Tour of Homes returns on Saturday, December 16 from 11 am – 6 pm and Sunday, December 17 from 1 pm – 5 pm. The Tour begins at 1145 Buffalo Street, St. John’s Episcopal Church, where you can view the Tiffany windows in the sanctuary and browse the wares of vendors at the Holiday Market. The Market opens at 10 AM on Saturday and noon on Sunday. There are eight different locations on this self-guided tour, all of which are decorated for Christmas. A convenient shuttle bus can transport you to the locations. Costs are $25/person, $30 at the door and $20 at the door for members of Franklin Preservation. Tickets go on sale at Eventbrite.com on November 15 at 8 AM. Locally, tickets can be purchased at the Franklin Area Chamber of Commerce. Admission is good for both days of the event. For an add-on cost of $5, a visit to the DeBence Music Museum is being offered. This ticket can be purchased at 1145 Buffalo Street or at DeBence on the days of the event.
You may have noticed the that small bird font with the statue of the boy with a goose is missing from Bandstand Park. Last year the James B. Borland Commemorative Bird Font was vandalized. Unfortunately, this was the fifth time it was damaged by vandals since the small monument was dedicated in 1927. Franklin Preservation is raising $2,000 to replace the broken font basin, pedestal and base. In addition, we will have a cast made of the boy and goose statue in the event that the statue becomes so damaged that has to be replaced. You can find more information about the bird font and its history here .
Franklin Preservation was awarded a second PA Keystone Grant in the amount of $30,000 to continue work on the front facade of 1101 Buffalo Street. Donations from our members and supporters made this matching grant possible. Contractors will soon be replacing deteriorated clapboards, decorative shingles and raised “stick” work.. The first PA Keystone Grant enabled us to replace the roof and add and gutters and downspouts, which will prevent future water damage to the wood siding. After the wood on the facade of former church has been repaired, the building will be painted
Our next program on the Lost Amusement Parks of Western Pennsylvania will be held Saturday, April 23 at DeBence Antique Music World in Franklin. The presentation will begin at noon and run until 2 pm in the third floor ballroom. This program will shed light on the fascinating stories of these long-gone recreation spots, from early picnic groves to traditional amusement parks, including trolley and railroad parks with origins tied to transportation; the first African-American-owned amusement park; and all of the parks’ classic amusement rides that thrilled countless people of all ages. One of the most lovely of these parks was Monarch Park, a beautiful, orderly slow paced area boasting a dance hall pavilion and bell tower. The Park was located off Deep Hollow Road where the Isaac Walton League makes it home. It went out of business in 1928 due to the invention of the automobile and the loss of the Big Rock Bridge over the Allegheny RIver.
You may have driven past the ‘Old Lutheran Church’ located at 1101 Buffalo St. and noticed a difference. In 2015 Franklin Preservation purchased the 1886 Stick Style structure with generous support from community members. We plan to fully restore the building and to continue its use as a public venue.
Restoration began with the tower portion of the building in the fall of 2019 funded in part with a grant from the City of Franklin. The tower was reinforced with new structural framing for the eventual installation of a new soaring pyramidal roof replicating the original. Deteriorated framing was replaced at the same time along with damaged siding, trim, and window sills. Six tower windows were refurbished using existing ‘wavy’ glass taken from windows from the rear of the structure. A new portico roof was constructed over the front doors that matches the secondary entrance that also faces Buffalo Street.
Restoration kicked into full swing when Franklin Preservation received a matching Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC) grant. Franklin Preservation matched this grant with funds raised through various events like the ‘Tiki BBQ Summer Party’ with live music held in the main hall, the ‘Holiday Tour of Historic Homes’, the ‘Divine Intervention New Year Celebration’ held at the Miller Park B&B and the annual three-day ‘Saved’ Trash and Treasure sale during Applefest. The funds received from the PHMC grant are designated to replace all of the roof shingles, install much needed gutters and downspouts and to restore the existing eaves. This work continues and is about eighty percent complete.
At the moment, while the world deals with the pandemic, Franklin Preservation is relying on social media and on-line events such as ‘Bridge Builders Week of Giving’ to support restoration efforts. The group’s restoration committee is optimistic that its annual events will resume. The next phase of restoration is the front facade and the stained glass windows. A new paint color scheme is in the works which will begin the transformation of Franklin’s newest landmark so that it can be reopened to the public.
Due to the pandemic, Franklin Preservation could not hold fundraisers and as a result, our funds are limited. Despite that, we utilized grant money and donations which allowed us to continue renovations on the former Lutheran Church in 2020. There is a new roof and gutters, a new entrance roof and a solid tower structure. Take a look as you drive by.
Bridge Builders Week of Giving is coming up from March 15 –19. Please consider renewing your membership at that time or just consider a donation. The website can be found below. Monies raised during this time are accrued into a larger pool and individual organizations not only receive their specific donations but also a share of the matched funds. Donations via check should be made out to BBCF and in the memo line state Week of Giving Franklin Preservation. Checks must be received by March 19 to be included in the matching funds. www.bbcfgives.org
The Pennsylvania Keystone Fund used the work on the Former Old Lutheran Church as an example of how to submit photos while requesting funding. You can check out the article by clicking the link. https://pahistoricpreservation.com/new-year-keystone…/
Franklin Preservation received a matching Keystone grant from the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission for the replacement of the roof, the installation of new gutters and downspouts and the restoration of the soffit and fascia.
The Renovation Exploration Tour planned for May 2 has been cancelled. We hope to reschedule it for a new date in 2021. New owners of the Samuel H. Dale House, Bob Sagnol and Molly Stahlman have graciously agreed to open their home for the Tour. The house has garnered much interest as it returns to its former glory. Bob and Molly want to share the journey of old house restoration with the public. Our members will receive a substantial discount on tickets for the tour.