Beginning the Massive Interior Restoration . . .

Saturday, June 25, 2022/Categories: History

The restoration of the interior was started in September 1979. It involved the south side of the choir and ceiling section. The processes of removing the old calcimine paint and repairing plaster were decided on. Subsequently, a contract was approved to have Joe Oswalt of Waterville, Kansas to work as an independent contractor to restore the entire 22,000 square feet of the church interior walls and ceiling. Assisting him were his wife Anita and workers Chari Johnson and Kathy Montgomery, who both lived at Vermillion, Kansas. Since the parish had agreed to provide scaffolding, the Restoration Committee recommended that the parish instead purchase the metal scaffolding to reduce costs.

Every square inch of the intricate designs was traced and an exact duplication of all original designs was made. Extensive plastering was also necessary. Since the old calcimine paint was found to be very unstable, it was decided to remove all of it down to bare plaster. The project followed the guidelines of the Department of Interior Standards. Mr. Arthur Townsend, a preservationist and architect Ed Bowles, both of Lawrence, Kansas, monitored the painting at the early stages. Tests were conducted for compatibility of the new paint over the old plaster. The walls were cleaned of all the old calcimine paint and were replastered as necessary. After double base coats of paint were applied, all the intricate stenciling and symbolic artworks were recreated exactly as they were originally painted by G. F. Satory in 1901. The paint used is washable acrylic latex paint. There is an area behind the organ that was not repainted. It still has the calcimine paint on it.

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