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New roof for a really old structure

July 29, 2018
Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

By John Speer


Article Photos

Tama County Historical and Genealogical Society board member Brett Reece (center, left) and roofing contractor Joel Jaeger discuss the progress of reroofing the Historical Society cabin.
Chronicle photos/John Speer

It was time to replace the roof on the Tama County Historical and Genealogical Society log cabin Brett Reece says he discovered shortly after he became a board member a couple of years ago.

Last week a tear off of the old wooden shake shingles and the replacement was done in a long day which wrapped up at about 9:30 p.m. on Wednesday, July 18.

Not many 150-year-old-plus log structures are re-roofed.

But Reece, who headed up the project and the work done by Jaeger Associates of Titonka, Iowa, assures a continued life now for the pioneer cabin located on East State Street adjacent to the Historical and Genealogical Society Museum and Library in downtown Toledo.

"It won't need another roof in my lifetime," Reece says. The new roof is steel, but the shingles authentically replicate the shake shingles.

Reece says no one could be found locally to replace the wooden shingles with new wooden shake shingles so he turned to Joel Jaeger, the roofer who specializes in Decra brand shingles which were used.

The cost? Reece said the Historical and Genealogical Society footed the entire $12,900 bill. An application for a grant to help was not approved.

History Of Cabin

The Society provides a one-page history of the origins of the cabin to those who tour it.

It was donated by Charles Balloun who paid to move the cabin from his farm east of Toledo to the site in October, 1990. After a four-year restotation effort, it was furnished in period pieces and an open house was held in 1994.

Bev Vesely head the Log Cabin Committee with assistance from Larry DeLancey, Mark Squiers, Louis Dressman and Wilma Parizek.

The foundation for the cabin was built from limestone rock form its original location. Albert Kremenak, well-known local cement mason did the work. He is a descendant of soem of the former cabin residents. Herman Miller provided much of the carpenter expertise in the restoration.

The committee learned from an expert the construction showed it was built by Czech settlers.

While the one-sheet history of the cabin is available, Reece has spent much more time studying the cabin and its history and has compiled nine pages of information.

He invites anyone who believes they can add to what is known to contact the museum.



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