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Museum Officials Between a Rock and Hard Place Regarding Old Courthouse Repairs

A solution could be coming soon, the director said.

Boulders.

Huge rocks.

They can create quite a dilemma when a historical society and museum officials are trying to balance 19th-century construction with modern building and fire codes.

Such is life over at the Old Tolland County Courthouse. For some time now, tours have been suspended and the French Canadian Genealogical Society of Connecticut's library has been closed. Officials for both the museum and the Historical Society have been wrestling with a tricky connection involving a furnace, a flue and a chimney.

And those rocks.

"In 1822 (when the building was constructed), no one though about central heating and the present building codes," museum director Barbara Cook said.  "It has kind of messed us up."

Historical Society Vice President Kathy Bach said the problem arose around Thanksgiving. Vernon-based Gottier Fuel had been maintaining the heating system, Bach said, but the repairs to the boiler and the connection to the chimney became complicated when everyone looked at the cellar floor.

The inspections involved the fire marshal's office and several heating system vendors, Cook said.

"The boulders are very, very big," Cook said. "It's amazing how it was constructed with oxen, men and bars."

But …

"There is a very large rock in the way," Cook said.

Cook was more optimistic after a meeting with vendors another officials on Tuesday.

"We're close to figuring out a solution," Cook said.

Cook said donations have also been coming in to help defray the cost. She did not yet have cost estimate for the project.

Kevin February 06, 2013 at 11:45 AM
"Modern day" technology may be a sensible way to go for some. But I've seen 'modern technology' fail at messing with "insufficient 1800's contruction". One example was the sickening display in Bellows Falls, VT about a decade ago. They tried and failed repeatedly to destroy the old "unsafe and dilapidated" railroad bridge. In the end, it took several separate attempts with various methods -- including TNT and explosives and torch cutting. Beware when you decide you're going to "fix" something that ain't broke (fire reg's be damned sometimes?)

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