News Column

Upcoming event in Columbia has advice on saving old buildings

June 2, 2014

By John Holland, The Modesto Bee

June 02--COLUMBIA -- If you want to keep with the spirit of the 1850s, don't install vinyl-framed windows.

That is among the many pieces of advice to be offered at a June 20 conference on historic preservation. The seventh annual event, Keeping Time, will feature talks on many topics and a walking tour of restoration projects in Columbia State Historic Park.

The conference is aimed at building owners, architects, planners, contractors, elected officials, Realtors and other people interested in preserving old structures. The registration deadline is Friday.

Speakers will have tips on advocating for preservation, doing the homework required for grant applications and "creative mitigation" for development projects that affect historic sites.

And they will talk about windows. Sharon Marovich of Sonora, one of the organizers, said Monday that buildings ideally should retain the wood frames of old, rather than vinyl or other modern-day materials.

"There are certain rules in preservation," she said. "The first is repair rather than replace."

Banks Glass of Jamestown will demonstrate how it retained the original windows in the Curtin Mansion, a Sonora landmark from 1897 that was restored in recent years. A representative of Andersen Inc., a national window company, also will be on hand.

Columbia, founded by miners about 165 years ago, has the largest collection of Gold Rush buildings in California. It has been a state park since 1945, but restoration projects have happened slowly because of tight funding.

The conference will run from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The cost is $40, including lunch. To register or get more information, contact Karen Willenberg at (209) 533-6641 or

The event is sponsored by the Tuolumne County Community Resources Agency and the Tuolumne County Historic Preservation Review Commission with help from the state Office of Historic Preservation. Other partners include county groups involved in building, real estate, tourism and other ventures.

Bee staff writer John Holland can be reached at or (209) 578-2385.


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Source: Modesto Bee (CA)

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