Historic Newkirk Mansion Tours The next William Newkirk Mansion tours weekend, this time in partnership with the Whitewater Valley Arts Association of downtown Connersville, will be Sat Aug. 18, 10am-6pm, and Sun. Aug 19,1-6pm. As in the past, free parking will be available on the front lawn, transportation up/down the hill will be available for those desiring assistance.
One half of the $10.00 at-the-door tour fee will go to the WVAA to be used to support their efforts, perhaps in the refurbishing of the second level of their beautiful downtown Arts building. Remaining funds will be used for the long term continuing restoration of the mansion. Children 10 and under free when accompanied by an adult.
WVAA members will be assisting with tours, providing information about the mansion throughout the tour. Also, various artworks from the WVAA, and items from their upcoming fall benefit auction will be on display in the mansion for the tour weekend.
What's new for this tour: Inside the mansion, later tile flooring in main hallway and library room has been removed, once again exposing the original hardwood flooring the Newkirk family undoubtedly saw and walked on. Also, the last remaining blocked-off original doorway in the downstairs interior has been opened back up, re-establishing the expansive, open space atmosphere Mr.T. R. Tinsley, original mansion architect, envisioned for the mansion in 1880 when construction began.
Outside, major rebuilding of the mansion's rear overhanging built in box gutter system has been completed. This included the replacement of 19 'lookouts', the main supporting structural members of the overhang, along with all related wooden elements. Original ornate metal trim elements have been saved, so exact original outward appearance has been maintained. This work represented a key element of the overall permanent restoration of original slate roof, as the overhang work required completion prior to final roof restoration, with that work still to be completed this year.
Not visible to the public, but also critical to the restoration, the basement has undergone a major cleaning out in preparation for instillation of completely new central heating systems, possibly to include A/C. Bids from multiple contractors are in the works at this time. Goal is to have heat operational by fall, so mansion will remain dry and warm, allowing work to continue through the winter months. This will represent another important milestone, as mansion has remained unheated for at least the last 12-14 years, and has suffered much damage as a result.
Much has been done, much, much more remains, but most importantly, the mansion is moving forward for the first time in decades. Please note: Newkirk mansion is not ADA compliant there are several steps, however all effort will be made to assist those in need. Tour entrance will be through the tower door at front of mansion.
Please support this tours weekend, as we continue to make the Historic Newkirk Mansion available to the public in ways beneficial to our community. Together, we can and will grow our own brighter future!
~ Mike & Jenny Sparks