MOUNT VERNON — Restoration of the historic Young House at 112 E. Gambier St. is now complete. Heavily damaged in a fire Dec. 16, 2008, the reconstruction has taken more than a year to complete.
The fire was electrical in nature but of an unknown cause in an upstairs attic to the rear of the house. The fire, that started in the late afternoon, burned fiercely consuming all of the roof and the top floor of the 7,000-square-foot home. The first floor suffered extensive water damage.
Starting the restoration was an extensive process. The coldest winter in several years delayed and slowed cleaning up the house. It was the first of March, owner Wayne Gottke said, before work really was under way cleaning out the debris and starting the reconstruction work. Working with his insurance company Gottke chose a Columbus company, Capital Reconstruction, that specializes in rebuilding old homes to the rebuild the Young House.
Gottke said the project cost “a lot” but was all covered by his insurance.
Built in 1840, it has hewn timbers in the frame work. The original flooring, which was saved, is maple and walnut and has been refinished. The vintage curved stairway, with black walnut railing, was not damaged and has been restored. Also saved from the fire were all the baseboards and door trim on the first floor as well as fireplace mantels and hearths.
Gottke added when they took out windows at the front of the home they found vintage wood window trim hidden under vinyl siding. The trim was refurbished and the windows with small panes of glass were replicated. During the reconstruction, the walls on the first floor was stripped to the studding revealing hand-carved beams.
All the carpeting was also replaced. The house is in its original layout, with minor changes, with five apartments. All of the second floor was so damaged by the fire it had to be rebuilt.
To meet modern coding there is a new furnace and all new wiring and plumbing. Capital Construction project manager Scott Vanderpool said, “It was an interesting project but took awhile.” He added he had as many as 14 men were working at any one time because of the salvage work and cleanup before they could start the actual reconstruction.
The house had another fire in the early 1900s, Gottke said. Then occupied by a prominent Mount Vernon attorney, Horace Greer, the fire destroyed many of his important papers including a ballot from the presidential election of Abraham Lincoln. Since the fire, Gottke said he has talked with a number of local residents who have assisted him in compiling additional information on the home’s history.