“New” General Store

Every so often I run into some project that just seems to take forever to get done. The Hamburg Horse Shoeing & Jobbing building is a very good example. It’s been a number of years and, for one reason after another, I just never could get it finished. It stood roofless and windowless, year by year, deteriorating in the elements.

This has bothered me immensely, seeing the walls standing, shaking in the wind, with no roof to cover and support them. …It’s also caused me a number of sleepless nights. Every so often we’ll get a heck of a storm, and the winds blow mightily. Many blustery nights I have listened hoping not to hear the sound of the walls falling on the unfinished building.

But, over time, I have learned that if a project or job doesn’t go well, there’s always a reason. Something is just holding up the work. In the case of this building, I had all along planned to restore it to its original size, shape and style. While it never occurred to me that was ill advised; my angels, unseen helpers or something or other, helped me by delaying me.

Summer before last, The Gynn Building interfered. I simply had to get it moved before Mrs. Gynn passed. She wanted it moved and saved and I promised I would. As it was I just barely made it. We moved the building. Her nephew called from her nursing home. I told him. Her told her. She was pleased. She died the same day. Her last wish filled…

Last summer, I was scheduled to complete the Hamburg in August. Then I had what the Drs. told me was a not survivable heart attack (I’m not much good at doing what people tell me to do, so here I continue).

So finally, we arrived at 2015. And I discovered what all the fuss was about in completing this particular building. One day I had a revelation. What I had planned to do, by fully restoring it, was wrong. To put it back as it was originally would not have looked right. It would have been just too tall. It would have been in effect, a three story building in the middle of a village of one stories. The proportions were just all out of quilter.

So I decided to cut off the second floor and lower the roof line. Now it fits in very well with the look of the rest of the museum. And, as a side benefit, I don’t have to climb so high with a bum ticker (sometimes the world is a bit out of focus when you only have half a heart).

And thus the work is proceeding well. A building that I was asked often if I was tearing it down or putting it up, is finally becoming a productive part of the museum. The “Hamburg” is becoming the “new” Gen’l Store. With lots more room than the old General, for lots more 19th Century gifts, crafts, folk art, oddments, doodads, gegauls and soaps, syrups and foods.

—For more about the moving of this building to the museum, please see the posting about it on March 27, 2011.



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