Monday, May 21, 2018
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Work gives peek at history in making

Perrysburg museum ready for preview


Douglas Pratt admires the wooden trim and pine flooring that he donated to the Perrysburg Area Historic Museum — otherwise known as the Aurora Spafford House — in Perrysburg.

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In 1822, William Pratt had longleaf pine wood shipped from Buffalo for the floors of the first frame house built in Perrysburg. The Greek Revival home was built the next year.

Mr. Pratt’s great-great-grandson, Douglas Pratt, walked those same floors Friday, marveling at the wear and tear they’ve endured for nearly 200 years. “It tickles me to see how much traffic has gone over this with the knots it has,” he said.

From 2 to 5 p.m. Saturday, the public will walk on that same floor at 27340 W. River Rd., checking out renovations by the Perrysburg Area Historic Museum as part of a sneak peek of improvements.

The home was first built for Judge Aurora and Mary Spafford. Aurora was the son of Amos Spafford, Perrysburg’s founder.

The Perrysburg Area Historic Museum bought the home for $130,000 in 2009.

J.D. Justus of Perrysburg Township, project liaison, said the house was not much more than flooring and 2-by-4-foot wood frames at purchase. With funds from donations and other efforts, renovations have taken place, and the house-turned-museum is closer to opening. But hurdles remain, he said.

The museum must be handicap-accessible, Mr. Justus said. The job will include removing trees and installing a parking lot, handrails, and sidewalk for wheelchair access.

“This is something that could be in Perrysburg for the next 100 years. We are not going to just slap it together,” Mr. Justus said.

The home will have a judge’s office, child’s bedroom, Native American room, military room, a fire and police room, and more. All will offer time-appriopriate artifacts.

Before opening, more money must be raised, he said. A nonprofit, Perrysburg Area Historic Museum has raised $50,000, but needs $150,000.

“That is our goal,” he said. “People have been donating in their wills, writing checks for tax writeoffs. Corporations have done that too. We also are doing fundraisers like a wine tasting and gambling night. It has cost a lot more with these commercial regulations.”

“I want to match the period,” Jim Mackienicz of Perrysburg said as he painted trim in the judge’s office.

“I’d rather work on an old home. I am honored to work on this place. As a carpenter, this is awesome work.”

The work has occurred in part because businesses are supportive: both the cameras for security and stone for the parking lot were donated. “We would have not gotten this far without Perrysburg businesses. We would have stopped months ago,” Mr. Justus said.

Museum President Judy Justus is grateful the city rezoned from residential to institutional and donated $10,000. “We are so close,” she said of the opening.

While his great-great grandfather’s hardwood makes the house’s floor, Mr. Pratt added his own touch: walnut from his nearby farm to help make the museum look even more like an 1800s home.

“That lumber has been in our barn my dad has saved for years,” he said. “What else are we going to do with it?”

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