Local News: Historic Preservation window restoration workshop to be held (4/30/21)


LE MARS — The City of Le Mars Historic Preservation Commission will hold a two-day window restoration workshop in May.  

The workshop, which is open to the public, will inform property owners and area contractors on the options and techniques for window repair and restoration on historic houses or buildings. Facilitating the workshop will be Terry Philips, Historic Window Rehabilitation specialist. 

The first session, “Window Repair, Restore, Replace: How to Decide,” will be held from 4-7 p.m., Friday, May 14, at the Browns Central Event Center. A complimentary light dinner will be served. 

On Saturday, May 15 the second session will be held from 9 a.m. to noon, at Care1 Nurses office building, 35 Plymouth St. N.E. Attendees will participate in a hands-on learning experience in the various techniques to restore historic windows. This session is entitled “Hands on Window Repair/Restoration Techniques.”

Le Mars Historic Preservation member Stu Dekkenga said, “The workshop is being offered to educate and assist contractors and home owners as they address issues with their properties. This educational opportunity will allow people the chance to ask questions and learn about the right ways to restore historic windows.”

Dekkenga said members of the commission watched the same presentation virtually last year for the Iowa Preservation Summit and felt it was worth bringing to Le Mars.

“One of the things people are really intimidated by in old buildings are the old windows. They feel like they need to be replaced right away and a lot of people do that,” Dekkenga said.

He continued that the windows workshop he and his wife, Karla, watched last year made it pretty clear, that the old windows have the old-growth lumber in them that has already lasted many, many years, sometimes over 100 years, and they’re still in good condition.

“Some of those window sashes are in good shape. But if we could maintain those and even improve on them a little bit, according to some of the other windows restorers that we’ve visited with, some of the old windows, when they’re protected by a good storm window, are actually more efficient than the new windows that you can purchase and they’re also going to last a lot longer. And they’ve already lasted a long time,” Dekkenga said.

Windows seem to be the first thing people feel need replaced in an old building or house.

“They could probably do it for a fraction of the cost by rehabbing and restoring those windows instead of replacing them,” he said.

He added the windows that people are putting in now, the new windows, like everything else, have an expiration date.

“The other thing is, windows really are a real focal point of an older building. If you can restore that window and leave the integrity of the old building, that’s one of the things Historic Preservation is after,” he said.

Admission is free to both sessions.

Reservations for the workshop are needed. Contact Le Mars City Hall at 712-546-7018 to reserve your spot by May 7. The workshop is open to contractors and historic property owners. 

Education is one of the purposes of the Le Mars Historic Preservation Commission, and includes promoting the educational, cultural, economic and general welfare of the public through the recognition, enhancement, and perpetuation of site and districts of historical and cultural significance. The commission also seeks to protect and enhance the city’s attractions, and safeguard the city’s historic, aesthetic and cultural heritage.

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