Restoration work has officially begun at John R. Park Homestead


Restoration work has officially begun at John R. Park Homestead.

Significant work is being done to ensure the long-term sustainability of the historic home of John and Amelia Park.

After an architectural review was completed, it was determined that there was nearly $1.5-million in structural repair work, foundation works, roof repairs, window and door replacements, waterproofing and more needs to be completed on the nearly 200-year-old buildings.

Just a few weeks ago, the Essex Region Conservation Authority announced that the Toldo Foundation has donated $100,000 to the project, with the funding mostly going towards repairs to the roof and foundation of the home.

$500,000 has also been provided by the Essex Region Conservation Authority.

Kevin Money, Director of Conservation Services at ERCA, says this is Phase 1 of the work being completed. 

"Doing structural repairs to the roof on the inside by adding additional rafters to the underside of the roof to ensure there's a lot of good structural stability to it going forward for future generations. And they're also going to be then undertaking some excavation and doing foundation repairs."

He says just the John and Amelia Park home will be closed off to the public. 

"The rest of the site, the grounds and the buildings will still be available as usual. But the white house itself will be considered a construction site, and the contractor will be fencing off the white house."

He expresses how this historic site is well loved by the community.

"There's a lot of people who really enjoy the John R. Park Homestead who visited it more recently, or they've been there long ago when they were a child and remember the field trips to that site. So it's been a part of this community for a very long time."

The historic home will be closed until spring of 2024.

Phase 2 of the construction will see the exterior siding of the house being redone, eavestrough work, repairs to additional windows, and more foundation repairs.

Money says that hundreds of thousand visit the Homestead yearly, especially on event days. 

John and Amelia Park lived in the home, which was built in 1842, and the home has been restored to bring the nineteenth century to life.

-with files from AM800's Kathie McMann