Leaky Roof Damaging History Museum

The leaks run along the edge where the roof meets the chimneys and parapets.

May 23, 2022

Leaks in the roof of the Pickerington-Violet Township Historical Museum have damaged the plaster walls as well as the artifact collection.

“The roof is a flat roof,” Greg Butcher, Pickerington City Manager said.  “The area where it is leaking is where the roof edges meet the short wall that rises above the roof.  Also, there are fireplaces on the east and west sides of the building that we believe are contributing to the leaks.”

Historical Society Secretary Mary Herron alerted Mayor Lee Gray to the problem when he visited the museum during the Pickerington Village Association’s Chocolate Hop on May 6. He promised Herron that he would alert the city manager as soon as he could.

“Water in a building of that age is a huge enemy,” Gray said. “Apparently, this has been going on for a ‘minute’.”

Historical Society President Peggy Portier believes that repairs will entail capping both chimneys and resealing where the rubber roof tucks around them. The bar where the roof meets the brick wall will be fixed, then covered with a cap which will extend over the wall.

Once contractors repair the leaks, the city will patch the damaged walls and repaint. At the Pickerington council’s next meeting on June 7, the members are expected to pass the first of three readings to allocate $30,000 for repairs.

“We are trying to get the work done as soon as possible and will use temporary means to stop the leaking if necessary,” Butcher said.

The city council has the option to waive the three reading requirement to facilitate an earlier start date.

The Violet Township Public Library opened on Labor Day 1916, funded by a $10,000 grant from the Carnegie Corporation – the philanthropic organization founded by steel magnate Andrew Carnegie to “to promote the advancement and diffusion of knowledge and understanding.”

“Worldwide, there were about 2,500 Carnegie libraries built, with about 1,700 of those built in the United States,” Butcher said. “Many of the libraries date to the early 1900s.  The local collection of artifacts contained or housed in the building is impressive and important to the history of Pickerington and Violet Township.”

Pickerington was one of the smallest communities to receive a library.

To be eligible for the funding, the Carnegie Corporation required communities to have at least 1,000 residents. According to the 1910 census, Pickerington only had 310 residents, but Violet Township had around 2,000. So, in 1915, the Pickerington Village Council partnered with the library board of directors and the Violet Township Trustees to apply for the grant with the entities agreeing to jointly maintain the library upon its completion.

In 1993, the library outgrew the building and voters approved the construction of a new facility at 201 Opportunity Way.  The city of Pickerington leased the then-vacant Columbus Street building to the Pickerington-Violet Township Historical Society at the price of $1.00 for 99 years. The city covers the utilities and maintains the landscaping.

Dripping water damaged this antique chair.
The roof is designed to direct rain water into two drain pipes located in the interior back corners.