Friday, November 16, 2012

Recent news articles

The Herald Journal recently covered our progress at:

They also covered the Cunningham Foundation grant, at:

The Preston Citizen covered the recent anonymous grant, as well as the recent financial support of the Mormon Historic Sites Foundation. Following is the text of that coverage:

Work continues on OSA restoration as additional grants come in

Scaffolding and plastic tenting conceal the talents of State Stone artisans as they begin restorative rockwork on the Oneida Stake Academy building this week.

Two recent grants allowed the Oneida Stake Academy Foundation to give State Stone the go ahead to start the work. An anonymous donor provided $100,000 in October, then during the first week of November, the Mormon Historic Sites Foundation committed to covering the costs of the architectural drawings started earlier this year by Design West of Logan, Utah.

“Despite how wrenching it is for us to wait between contracts to complete the different phases of the building, the satisfaction of being able to see our planning and the generosity of donors put to work is tremendous,” said OSAF president, Nathan Hale.

State Stone owner, Keith Mackay said his artisans will first remove the red mortar that has, over the years, leached into the surrounding rock, creating a pink caste to the building. Then, using a chemical wash formulated specifically for the academy, the building will be washed.

Once the building is clean, Mackay’s crew will begin at the top of the academy, removing and replacing deteriorated stone with new stone cut from the academy’s original quarry northeast of Cub River. The new stone has been tooled to match that of the original craftsmen. Finally, new mortar will be applied.

Mackay cut the stone from the quarry in 2005. While there, remnants of former stonecutters were discovered: blackened stone from black powder blasts, rust encrusted ax heads and files. Originally, the rock was quarried in 12-foot blocks blasted from the hillside under the direction of Fred Nuffer.

Nuffer’s brother, John, was the principal mason on the building. Adding the battlements were one of the modifications he made to the original architect’s plans. John apprenticed on castles in his native country, Germany, before immigrating to Cache Valley when his family joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The Church directed the construction of about 35 academies between Juarez, Mexico and Calgary, Canada. The bulk of them were in the intermountain west.

Nuffer is credited with building several prominent buildings in the area. In addition to the Oneida Stake Academy they included many prominent buildings now demolished: the Preston Opera House; the McCammon public school; Fairview, Mapleton and Whitney public schools; the Tabernacle at Grace; the high school at Grace; the original Preston First Ward building; and most of the business blocks as well as many of the older homes in Preston.

The Oneida Stake Academy building, originally built between 1890-1894, was used for educational purposes longer than any other academy building, except the academy in Juarez, which is still used as an academy today.