This past Sunday afternoon, we attended the Preservation and Conservation Association's (PACA) annual meeting in the basement meeting area of a church at the corner of Sixth and Daniel streets in Campustown.
Almost 80 people were in attendance, which is a really good turnout. When you see that kind of support, it gives the PACA volunteers new blood and new energy just knowing that all their volunteer hours are appreciated.
PACA gave out its annual awards for deserving projects. In some cases, it is the only pat on the back that the efforts receive. Barns, buildings and homes were given awards, and some people were also cited for their work in preservation.
Profitwise, it was not a good year for PACA; they have started staying open for extended hours, which means more overhead, but that may be worth it, because more hours mean more opportunities for more customers and more donations.
One of the highlights of the meeting was a progress report on the Solon House by Neil Strack. PACA owns that 1867 house at the corner of State and Healy streets in Champaign.
Phase one has been completed. That involved exposing the foundation all the way around the edifice and tuck-pointing the entire works, and then sealing it and making it waterproof.
Phase two is well underway, and when done, both the front and back porches will have been rebuilt with better under-support and a patio-like entrance to the basement just off the back porch will be completed. So when phase two is done, that means the outside of the building is just about finished. A new roof was installed a few years ago, so top to bottom will be finished with the exception of windows and doors.
PACA also owns a bridge on the river near Mahomet, so if you have an interest in bridges, they would like to hear from you.
Bob Swisher has been a collector since he was a child. Questions or comments can be sent to Swisher by writing to The News-Gazette, P.O. Box 677, Champaign, IL 61824-677 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.