Photo by Emily Buss
The WCHS Armory Museum battlements were taken off in the 1930s, and recently restored.
Throughout the sweltering summer, restoration and construction workers stacked, mortared, and laid bricks atop the Winona County History Center to restore the medieval-style façade of the "downtown castle" to its original 1915 appearance. After nearly four months of construction that restored two large battlements, the scaffolding is gone and the project is complete.
“We’re thrilled to have the building put back to the way it originally was,” Executive Director Mark Peterson said.
Work on the building began in the middle of May, and even temperatures in the high 90s did not stop progress.
Historical restoration experts from Building Restoration Corporation, a Minnesota-based company, repaired and replaced two large battlements with matching brickwork. The battlements had been taken down and replaced with a concrete cap in the late 1930s, Peterson said, for what he guessed was routine maintenance that never happened.
“The building never looked right after the battlements were removed,” Peterson said. “It’s meant to look like a medieval fortress and now it looks right. The brickwork is just tremendous.”
On Tuesday, workers put the final touches on the building with the addition of flagpoles.
“The building is back to its old self and it makes the new addition look even better,” Peterson said. “The new and old complement each other.”
The project was funded by a $156,000 Minnesota Historical Society Legacy grant, a $12,000 King Foundation grant, and a $7,600 Winona Foundation grant.
A celebration to commemorate the completion of the project will take place during a flag-raising ceremony Thursday at 5 p.m. at the Winona County History Center.