Press Release by Dorothy DeBisschop, Oxford town historian:
The Oxford Historical Society has a problem. The old chimney bricks on the at 60 Towner Lane have become porous and no longer repel water. Instead, water seeps into the bricks, causing leakage into the building when there are extended rains.
The Katharine Matthies Foundation gave the society $3,820 toward the cost of taking down the chimney bricks to the roof level, replacing them with new bricks and adding a chimney cover. The society has learned that, due to the age of the roofing on the building, it will be necessary to install new roofing as soon as the chimney work is completed. Estimates for the roof work have been sought and total more than $7,000.
Funding toward the roof work is being provided by the Valley Community Foundation, which has approved a grant of $4,999 to assist the society in the necessary repairs. The historical society has a goal of raising an additional $2,300 to complete both projects.
For immediate preservation of the chimney and building, a tarp was installed over the chimney to keep rain from saturating the bricks until the society can arrange for the repair of the chimney followed by repair of the roof. The chimney repairs are slated to be done on March 27 and 28. Both projects are contingent upon extended weather forecasts.
In the meantime, the society is seeking donations to help fund the two projects. Tax-deductible donations may be sent to Oxford Historical Society, Inc., PO Box 582, Oxford, CT. In addition, special donation jars will be posted at Southford Store and .
The society, which moved the homestead to its present location in 2006, has been working for the past six years, preparing the building for its opening as Oxford's first museum. The Grand Opening is scheduled for May 5 and 6. The event will feature demonstrations by re-enactors, and demonstrations on the use of spinning wheels and drop spindles.