Monday, April 20, 2009
Cornerstone Preservation has been working with the City of Fond du Lac on a brochure intended to help the owners of city-designated historic residences undertake sensitive alterations to their properties. It provides information concerning the history of the community and important preservation-related references; it also describes the criteria by which proposed projects will be evaluated by the Fond du Lac Historic Preservation Commission. The overriding objective has been to create a tool that will assist building owners protect and enhance the historic character of their properties in a way that will not necessarily be more expensive.
Ten of what had been at least a dozen Lock Keepers’ residences remain in place along the historic waterway between Menasha and De Pere. Nine of them are cited as contributing elements to their districts in a multiple-property NRHP listing, “Waterway Resources of the
Constructed between 1892 and 1928, the houses are integral to the lock sites at Appleton Locks 1 and 3, Cedars, Little Chute Guard Lock, Combined Locks, Kaukauna 1, Rapide Croche, Little Kaukauna and De Pere. All are unoccupied, and in most cases have been for more than twenty-five years. Their mothballed status has contributed to their deterioration, and they have become targets for vandalism due to their relative isolation.
The Fox River Navigational System Authority (FRNSA) is at about mid-point in the process of returning the locks of the Lower Fox River to operation and now would like to take the steps necessary to secure the future of the former keepers’ residences. In taking measures to protect them from further deterioration, the FRNSA proposes to (1) complete roof and foundation repairs, (2) repair exterior walls by tuckpointing, repairing and replacing materials in-kind, and painting, and (3) complete hazard materials abatement (lead and asbestos).
The FRNSA eventually plans to rehabilitate the houses to function as important interpretive or hospitality features along the operational waterway. Anticipating the restored locks and canals will provide a significant enhancement to tourism, the presence of these integral and historically significant houses will lend character to the navigational system and provide multiple, related attractions along its route.
Last winter Cornerstone Preservation completed a Mitigation Plan for the Wisconsin Memorial Hospital complex at the Mendota Mental Health Institute in Madison. The plan was requested, and subsequently approved, by the Wisconsin SHPO. It was put into place to mitigate the adverse effect that the planned demolition of the centerpiece of the district, the main hospital and administration building, would have had on the district's integrity. Last week, Governor Jim Doyle ordered that demolition of the building not move forward and that the Division of State Facilities work with a private developer (with a great track record in Historic Preservation) to rehabilitate the structure.