Underground Railroad Society
of Cass County, Michigan
Bonine House Restoration
The Bonine House
The Bonine House with the Southwest corner restoration complete (Dec. 2011)
Press Release 4/4/2012
The Underground Railroad Society of Cass County MI (URSCC) has been named the 2012 recipient of the Evans Historic PreservationAward by the Michigan Architectural Foundation. This prestigious award comes with a grant of $7,500, which will be used to restore the mansard roof on the entrance tower of the James E. Bonine House located at Penn Road and M60 in Vandalia MI; purchased by the group in December, 2010.
Named in honor of historic preservation architect David Evans, the goal of the award is to promote the practice of historic preservation and to give encouragement and support to not-for-profit community groups seeking to restore important resources. The criteria for the award includes preserving a historic property that may otherwise be lost.
A generous donation by Mary Anne Bonine in memory of her husband Alan Bonine, will allow URSCC to re-roof the entire Bonine House this summer. URSCC and Friends of the Bonine House are very grateful.
Fundraising has begun for masonry repair and to restore the front and side porches, with a goal of $50,000. Work on the gardens is in the planning stages, with excavation of tree stumps and other debris being completed.
Mike Moroz, Lin Pollard and Cathy LaPointe receive the Evans Grant 'big check' from Park Smith of MAF on Friday, May 11th at the Michigan Historic Preservation Network Annual Awards Ceremony, this year held in Flint, MI.
The Evans Award Committee met on Wednesday, March 29th to consider entries from all over Michigan, then called URSCC treasurer and novice grant writer, Cathy LaPointe, to say they had been chosen.
"To say I was shocked would be an understatement; actually I kind of embarrassed myself, I couldn't stop screaming and thanking them. The head of the committee actually turned to the group and said 'it's their first grant".
"The grant portion of the award is wonderful, and very much needed, LaPointe said. Together with our matching funds we will be able to restore the tower roof this summer. But more than the money, we so appreciate the recognition by MAF of the mission and goals of The Underground Railroad Society of Cass County. The Bonine House is not only architecturally important, it represents a legacy of freedom, and an amazing story of compassion and courage that took place in a community unique in the world".
URSCC president Mike Moroz said "this award is a watershed moment for us. Local residents have been supportive and encouraging from the moment we purchased the Bonine House a year ago. The Evans Award gives broader recognition to this important project, and we are profoundly grateful".
The mansard roof of the Bonine House tower is being restored to its former Second Empire glory. The contractor is Dale Layman of Layman Construction, known by many as the manager of Pokagon's Old Rugged Cross Church reconstruction. Terms of the grant from the Michigan Architectural Foundation (matched by URSCC) require that the project be completed by September 1, 2012 and work is on schedule.
Dale discovered while pulling off the old 'fish scale' shingles, that the original color was not a faded natural grey, but a deep, vibrant green, which will guide him in the restoration.
Evans Historic Preservation Award to URSCC
Bonine House Honored by Michigan Architectural Foundation