Pennsylvania House Hard Hat Tour - June 24, 2006
Some major renovation is going on at the historic Pennsylvania House in Springfield, OH. Since this former inn once served travelers on the National Road, interest is high in this, the road's bicentennial year but the landmark won't be available to summer travelers. That is unfortunate but it promises to be something special when it reopens on October 14 and the results are expected to justify the wait. The Springfield Preservation Alliance offers a series of walking tours and I got in on the one that included a look at this work in progress.

I was there a bit early and was in the right spot to catch a train rumbling by. I'm facing west, directly down the Historic National Road with the street that was once the Dayton-Springfield Turnpike on the left. With some effort, you might just make out the Pennsylvania House chimneys behind the radiator shop.

A group of more than twenty met in the Pennsylvania House parking lot (Which we learned was once home to a KFC.) and followed Ken up and down Main Street (a.k.a., the National Road) as he described some of the neighborhood's older buildings. The tower on the 1898 fire house once held the bell from the first Springfield City Hall.

Back at the Pennsylvania House, Kevin told us a bit about the house's history and the current project (see the new/original color scheme) before we entered. Once inside, both he and Ken answered a variety of questions as did a couple of knowledgeable ladies from the museum. We walked or peered into every room including both attic and basement. The basement is a quite recent addition. Before the current renovation started, there was only a crawl space - or less - under most of the building. Lots of dirt was removed to make room for some structural improvements. That dirt was sifted and much was found that will be on display in the museum. I'm glad I got a peek today but am really looking forward to October.


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