By Kathryn G. Menu
The Sag Harbor Whaling and Historical Museum was approved last Thursday night for the first part of a three-phase plan to repair and restore the historic 1845 building, which is also the home of the Waponamon Lodge No. 437 Free Masons.
In May, following complaints about the building’s exterior appearance, building inspector Tim Platt asked the Sag Harbor Historic Preservation and Architectural Review Board (ARB) to weigh in on what exterior repairs and maintenance was necessary to bring the building back into code compliance.
The museum — led by board president Barbara Lobosco and former director and board member Zach Studenroth — presented a three-phase plan to restore the building. The project, after gaining the ARB’s approval last Thursday, is slated to begin on September 15 with repairs and painting to the exterior, as well as repairs to the roof finials and repairs to the front and side porches.
Last month, ARB members asked for more details at a meeting not attended by members of the Whaling Museum board. Last Thursday, Lobosco and Studenroth walked board chairman Cee Scott Brown, board member Tom Horn, Sr. and Penny Ludwig — the most vocal board member in calling for more details last month — through the plan.
The plan would include removing all existing painting down to the building’s bare wood, removing all glazes from the windows and re-glazing them. Putty work — caulking, glazing and wood care — is also planned.
A second and third phase, addressing interior repairs and ending with repairs to the grounds and the roof, is also planned according to Lobosco.
The first phase of the project is estimated to cost about $180,000, according to Ince Painting Professional of Westhampton Beach, which will complete the work for the museum board.
According to an addendum to the plan, Ince Painting is committed to making any minimal repairs discovered as the project moved forward with historic preservationist Robert Strada—co-chair of the Whaling Museum’s building and grounds committee — committed to completing any major repairs uncovered as the project moves forward.
The museum has been fundraising for the repairs and has earned a $50,000 grant from the Century Arts Foundation that is earmarked towards the repair work.
“What about the roof,” wondered Ludwig.
Studenroth said the roof covering the building is in “very good condition,” but that repairs would be made where the roof meets the gutters.
Lobosco added Ince Painting is familiar with working on historic buildings, like the Topping Rose House in Bridgehampton and the Hannibal French House in Sag Harbor.
“Just as long as if they find something wrong that you don’t know is there that you take care of that too, I am okay,” said Horn. “I have no doubt they will discover something no one knows about.”
“As you understand, the reason this is on the table is, as a historic structure within the historic district of the village, it is incumbent on owners of the building to maintain that,” said Brown.
While two residents — members of the Lodge — attempted to comment after the project was approved by the board, Brown stopped them.
“We are just giving it a [certificate of appropriateness] to get this building back in repair,” said Brown.
“To say the building needs a few repairs is absurd,” replied one of the men. “It needs a full restoration. It’s in poor condition.”
“Our only comment is we hope they succeed in repairing the building to the condition it should be,” said Lou Grignon, owner of the Sag Harbor Yacht Yard and a member of the Lodge, on Wednesday. “We look for the guidance of the building inspector and the ARB to bring the building back into the condition it should be in.”