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Re: "Examples of stewardship good and bad" (Reporter's Notebook, 11/28/18 Star)

 


My wife and I appreciated the stewardship article written by Roger Lucas. We’ve traveled extensively throughout the USA with a special focus on small towns, and we have yet to find a place as amazing as our area. Long before the vehicle and property shows became the rage, we realized the intrinsic and environmental value of restoring and preserving vintage and historical things. Presently, we’re restoring two trucks from 1964 and ’70.

When we moved here almost 40 years ago, my wife’s wish was to live in the Women’s Dormitory in Coulee Dam. She was employed, I was not; so I put her wish on my rapidly growing “honey-do list.” Many, many years passed and then a couple of years ago, the previous owners of the Women’s Dormitory knocked on our door. They were hoping we would be interested in buying their property. My wife is very passionate about family, teaching, coaching and many other simple things, but her excitement about this opportunity finally happening was over the top. I did everything possible to make sure her longtime wish came true.

Working to get this historical building back to as original as possible has been a massive labor of love project. Whenever I’m in the Voltage Coffee House, I feel the same pride and gratitude there that I do with our place. They’ve created a treasure that is very unique, wonderful and inviting.

The it-takes-a-village belief applies to our project. Our five-year plan has rapidly been condensed down, thanks to help from the previous owners, the CDFCU and the town of Coulee Dam. My wife has always been a workhorse, and her let’s-do-this attitude is infectious and leads to things being done well at a high level. In the past, costs of raising five kids made me the fix-it guy for all things needing repair, but I am a slow learner who doesn’t pay attention to detail and I did a very poor job. With our new project we’ve hired professionals to pull up carpeting and refinish hardwood and terrazzo floors, replace over 400 feet of gutters and downspouts, replace windows, do carpentry and electrical, rebuild chimneys, upgrade plumbing so everything works, paint inside and out, put up new awnings, lay new sod and upgrade the sprinkler systems, build a new fence and kitchen, refinish outside doors, etc., and we still have things that need to be done. My wife and I spent three long days cleaning decades of debris out of the section of Fiddle Creek that runs by our place. Our work followed the summer long clean up done by the town crew. Underneath it all, we found a license plate from 1949!

Roger is right about the huge amount of time, effort and expense involved with preservation projects. However, as he realizes, there is no place like America and no place like home. Our ongoing project is the least my wife and I can do to honor the amazing history of our area and the incredible people who made it, and make it, so very special.

John Adkins

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