The historic Schwartz House at Altona's Gallery in the Park is slated for some major exterior renovations.

Shingles on the 120-some year-old house will be replaced in the spring, according to Frank Friesen, Chair of the Gallery's Operating Committee. This will be followed with new siding, hopefully installed next fall after the 2024 season. 

The entire project will be funded by the Town of Altona, which owns the facility, with some donations from local corporations and private donors as well. 

"To date, we don't know how much money though, because once you take off the siding, there is a big question mark as to what you're going to find underneath," said Friesen. 

"I don't know how many times it's been repainted - a lot of times - and eventually, the wood needs to be replaced and we're definitely at that stage," he added. " I don't think anybody is seriously considering repainting it. I think it's time once and for all to spend the money and have it be good for the next 25, 40 years."

The goal, however, is to maintain as much of the building's historic character as possible. 

"We're not going to spend it all kinds of money just to do that, but anything that we can practically do in the way of preserving is definitely at the top of the list," clarified Friesen.

He noted, replacing the straight wooden siding slats is one thing, but working with the stained-glass windows and the moldings installed n the peaks and corners of the house is another.

"We'd love to represent it as close to that as we can. The big question is, will we find somebody who can mill or carve or lathe the similar style of wood to replace what is rotting and needs to be replaced," he pondered. "I say rotting. It looks like it's rotting, but it's 20 or 30 feet up there. I don't know if there's rotting happening behind there, that none of us know and won't until we actually tackle the project." 

Meantime, the Gallery wrapped up another successful season. According to Friesen, about 4,500 came through between June and September.


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