Jan and John Maggs Antiques

THE RESTORATION OF JABEZ NEWHALL’S TAVERN

CHAPTER 11 -- RESTORING THE CUPOLA -- p. 1



Atop the ridge of the barn was a large, post-and-beam cupola, resembling several others in Franklin County and probably typical of the local form. It was in horrible condition with a leaking slate roof, many missing slats, and the resulting population of pigeons. After a careful examination of its frame, we determined that it was still sound, though the exterior was much in need of restoration. After giving due consideration to doing the work in situ, we succumbed to good sense and decided to do the work about forty feet closer to terra firma.

We approached a local crane operator with our problem and asked if he was the right person to do what we needed to have done. He agreed that the project was feasible and quoted us a fee for driving his enormous crane to Conway to do the work. After a few moments of stunned silence, he was apparently overcome with compassion, because he added, "I'll charge you to take it down, and -- if you finish the job -- I'll put it back without charge."

This half-price deal was more than an offer; it was a challenge. We accepted and set a date for the removal.


"Moving day" arrived. John had removed the nails securing the cupola to the roof and had rigged chains and cables to the frame inside the decrepit structure. We watched as the gigantic crane approached our driveway and Buster Davenport drove it into position. As Buster extended the crane, John climbed into the cupola and snaked a steel cable through the opening in its peak, attaching it to the enormous steel hook that was to lift our project off of the roof. We held our collective breath as the cable became taut, and exhaled slowly as the cupola rose into the sky.

   


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