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  • Writer's pictureRoger Sims, Journal Staff

Historical society considers project to save Wesley Chapel

Updated: Apr 1, 2023

The Mound City Historical Society's restoration of the barn at the city's historical park includes framing sidewalls, installing new windows and replacing the roof framing and sheet metal. (Ron Nickelson/Mound City Historical Society)

MOUND CITY – After raising money to install new roofs to all of the buildings in the Mound City Historical Park, the local historical society is working now to upgrade many of the buildings there.

However, a project proposed by Ron Nickelson, Mound City Historical Society president, at the society’s meeting on Thursday, March 23, is expected to top all of the work that has been accomplished in the last eight months.

Nickelson noted that the historic Wesley Chapel was in poor shape and needed to be rescued. The chapel sits on a plot several miles northwest of Mound City on 1150 Road.

Nickelson laid out three possible courses the society could take:

  • Rebuild and repair the structure where it now sits,

  • Move the chapel to the north side of the historical park and rehabilitate it, or

  • Tear down the building, salvage the materials and rebuild a scaled-down version of the chapel in the historical park. The scaled-down version would be about half the size as the original.

Nickelson said that, according to a company he contacted about the prospect, the chapel is still in good enough shape to move. If that was the case, the society would need to raise enough money for moving and repairs plus a new foundation on which to set the building.

He said he had also contacted Ag Associates, a Uniontown engineering firm in Uniontown, about drawing up plans for the scaled-down building.

Nickelson said that the society would likely need to decide fairly quickly. He said that whatever decision is made, the project will need to be tackled before enough donations can be received to pay for it.

He said the chapel could be used for weddings, religious services and other events.

The society has raised more than $93,000 since it was revived last summer. More than $83,000 of that has come in the form of dues and donations – including a successful fundraiser at the Mound City Methodist Church – and the rest has come from a Heartland Electrical Cooperative Foundation grant and a John and Helen Barnes Community Foundation grant.

However, that money has been spent as the society quickly works to overcome several years of little or no maintenance at the park. More than $60,000 was spent to reroof all seven of the buildings in the park. And for the old barn, that meant replacing the rafters first. The total cost to rehabilitate the barn was nearly $7,200.

The house at the park is still in the middle of restoration. More than $11,700 has been spent so far for that project. Currently drywall is being installed on the ceiling there.

The log cabins at the park have been what Nickelson said was a “headache.” Contractors invited out to look at the work needed have been no-shows. He said he is now working with the Kansas Historical Society, which has contacts with experienced companies, to move the work on the cabins forward.

The society has relied on volunteers for some of the work, including students from Jayhawk-Linn High School and members of the First Baptist Church.

Next on the park’s buildings is the former railroad depot building. Nickelson said the society needs to decide whether the partitions should be torn out to open up the space for a better museum experience.

He also said that one of the goals for that building is to put in a handicapped-accessible restroom. The cost of those modifications could run as high as $30,000.

The building for the bandwagon is also in need of repair, he added. The garage door needs a new frame and there is a need to replace at least part of the concrete floor. The estimate for those projects is $4,000 to $5,000.

Society treasurer Maribeth Kehl reminded members at the meeting that the society needed to budget money for the ongoing process of maintenance as well.

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