By NECIA P. SEAMONS
Citizen staff writer
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 OSA Foundation to give State Stone the go ahead to start 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.
“Despite how wrenching it is for us to wait between contracts to complete 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.
Artisans will first remove the red mortar that has leached into the surrounding rock, creating a pink caste to the building. Then, using a chemical wash formulated specifically for the academy, the rock will be cleaned.
Once the building is clean, crews will begin at the top of the academy, removing and replacing deteriorated stone with new rock 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.
The stone was originally cut from the quarry in 2005. Originally, the rock was quarried in 12-foot blocks 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. 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: Preston Opera House; McCammon public school; Fairview, Mapleton and Whitney public schools; the Tabernacle and high school at Grace; the original Preston First Ward building; and most of the business blocks as well as many older homes in Preston.
This story is sponsored by Stokes MarketPlace and Edwards Floral.
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