New Castle News

Local News

October 15, 2012

Experts share joys and frustrations of historic home renovations

NEW CASTLE — Expect the unexpected, realize you will get dirty and understand everything takes longer, costs more and is harder than imagined.

This advice and other tidbits were offered this week to a full house at the Lawrence County Historical Society’s do-it-yourself historic home renovation program. Three property owners shared joys and frustrations uncovered as they restore the character to three neglected local homesteads.

OAK PARK ANTICS

For the past year and a half, Ed and Lorraine Petrus  worked on the former superintendent’s house at Oak Park Cemetery. It had been scheduled for demolition

“At first glance, it didn’t look all that bad,” said Ed Petrus who did or supervised most of the rehabilitation work himself. In doing so he has fallen through porch roofs, survived yellow jackets, rebuilt walls, replaced floors, built ladders to accomodate the roof pitch while restoring shingles and flashings, replaced or reglazed 39 of the building’s 43 windows and relocated the coven of raccoons that had taken up residence.

They expect it will be ready for their son, Brian, to move in before Christmas.

Petrus urges anyone considering such a project to be brave but recognize limitations.

“I’m not a master plumber or electrician, but I’ve never been afraid to take on a challenge,” he said, adding, “But realize there are things you can’t or don’t want to do. Don’t be afraid to admit when it’s time to hire someone.”

Since the three-story brick house had settled unevenly, he also learned tricks to shim, shave and notch uneven doors, floors and window sills to make them look level. He also spoke of the joys of discovering ancient knob and tube electrical wiring between walls, lead water pipes contorted to odd shapes under floors and renovation efforts of previous owners uncovered as walls came down and floors were pulled up.

“You will spend a lot of time undoing what others have done and most of what you will need to fix it is made of ‘unobtainium,’” he joked.

He also urges, “Be creative. Find what is unique to the house and capitalize on it.”

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News
  • 01.jpg Photo Gallery: Church’s tradition of Easter countdown continues

    Easter is keenly anticipated by Christians around the globe. But perhaps nowhere is its arrival more heralded than at Independent Methodist Church.

    April 18, 2014 11 Photos

  • Lawrence county receives state grant

    Lawrence County will receive state funding to update its comprehensive plan. The county will receive $47,000, in the form of a Municipal Assistance Grant, from the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development, according to state Sen. Elder J. Vogel.

    April 18, 2014

  • Mahoning Township sets spring cleanup

    Mahoning Township will have its spring cleanup the weeks of April 28 and May 5. Residents should place items at the curb the day before their scheduled collection. They should be neatly bagged or bundled.

    April 18, 2014

  • Vo-Skills.jpg VoTech team claims silver medal state honors

    The Lawrence County Career and Technical Center boasts a team of disciplined, well-spoken winners. The school’s SkillsUSA team, comprised of 21 students, stood against other schools from throughout Pennsylvania last week in Hershey.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Columbia Gas announces pipeline replacement work

    Columbia Gas has scheduled a pipeline replacement project for New Castle. Beginning this month, the company will replace approximately 2,800 feet of existing steel pipe along Eastbrook and Paper Mill roads and Cascade Street. The project is expected to be completed in July.

    April 17, 2014

  • ESB Financial reports earnings increase

    ESB Financial Corp., parent company of ESB Bank, has announced an increase in earnings for the quarter ended March 31.

    April 17, 2014

  • Author.tiff Arthur the author: Children’s writer/illustrator visits Neshannock Elementary

    A story about a grandmother and her granddaughter flying over a city grew from the vivid imagination of children’s author Arthur Dorros. “Abuela” also spurred the creativity of students at Neshannock Memorial Elementary School who had eagerly awaited a visit from Dorros yesterday.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Greer House changes name

    Greer House, a provider of assisted living services and care to seniors, has unveiled its new name. “We are thrilled about our new name — Clen-Moore Place,” said executive director Susan Leise, “because it better reflects our commitment to provide a vibrant environment where our residents thrive each and every day.

    April 16, 2014

  • Huston.jpg Greg Huston: Pirates pitching is porous and LeBron’s a phony

    The Buccos got swept this past weekend in their own personal house of horrors, otherwise known as Miller Park in Milwaukee. The Pirates will hover around .500 this year mainly because they do have some stars in Marte, McCutchen and Alvarez, and they play the right way with grit.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • 01.jpg Photo Gallery, Story: Students team up on paper pantry

    Food is not the only thing that sometimes is in short supply for those in need. With that in mind, students from seven Lawrence County high schools joined Westminster College sororities and fraternities Saturday in preparing a paper pantry for local residents.

    April 14, 2014 8 Photos