Things are going slowly at the Stone House, but they’re going.
Workers with State Parks’ construction unit this week (through Aug. 22) finished bracing and enclosing the collapse on the north wall, and continued work on the foundation for the steel studs that will back up the existing sandstone walls. Work has been sporadic, first delayed by a rattlesnake on the third floor, then by the complexity of working with the fragile, 158-year-old structure.
Fortunately, there have been no delays caused by archaeological finds. All dirt displaced by the trench for the foundation was removed from the building and sifted for artifacts before being returned to the building. The site was home to Native Americans for hundreds of years, off and on, but since the soil was disturbed when the house was originally built in 1856, no major finds are expected.
Meanwhile, the Trust is working with the California Cultural and Historical Endowment to get an extension of a $200,000 grant that’s helping to pay for the work. The original deadline to spend the money or lose it was March 1, but an extension until Sept. 1 was granted.
Unfortunately, only $25,000 of the funding has been spent to date, and with the new deadline looming the Trust has requested a second extension. The CCHE has been extremely understanding and cooperative, and it now appears a continuation until early 2015 will keep the funding in place at least that long. The slated completion of the project, originally estimated to be in October, will not be met. It’s unclear what the new date will be.
The Trust is continuing its fundraising efforts to ensure as much construction as possible can be done during the current project. An on-line fundraiser that has raised more than $1,100 is on-going, and can be reached at this link: bit.ly/1q85Mwb.