ShareThis Page

Overly House renovation project nears completion

| Wednesday, Sept. 17, 2014, 9:00 p.m.
Local couple Rick and Heidi Meason, president of the Mt. Pleasant Area Historical Society and the society’s secretary/treasurer, respectively, stand inside the Overly House, an oak log structure built in 1786 which the society acquired for $1 on Dec. 31, 2007. As a nearly six-year renovation project on the building nears its end, the society has started relocating its headquarters to the house located along Washington Street in the Old Town section of Mt. Pleasant.
A renovation project which began in 2008 involving the Overly House, an oak log structure built in 1786, is nearing completion by the Mt. Pleasant Area Historical Society.
Rick Meason, president of the Mt. Pleasant Area Historical Society, said he anticipates a new era for the group once it completes the process of relocating its headquarters to the Overly House, a oak log structure built in 1786 which the society acquired for $1 on Dec. 31, 2007.

The Mt. Pleasant Area Historical Society is nearing completion of a roughly $70,000 project started in 2008 to restore the Overly House in the Old Town section of the borough.

With that, the relocation of the society's headquarters from its current site along West Main Street to the house along Washington Street is underway, he said.

“That process has officially begun,” said Rick Meason, the society's president. “We just moved one of our display cases there, but there is no timetable for completing the moving process. Our current office is going to remain our office until further notice.”

However, Meason added, society members are working to further strengthen the organization's connection to Overly House prior to start of the 28th annual Mt. Pleasant Glass & Ethnic Festival to be held from Sept. 26-28.

“We want to get at least a little bit of a presence down there before the festival begins,” he said.

Multiple sources contribute to project

In 2008, society member and then-President Richard A. Snyder expressed optimism that the renovation of oak log structure built in 1786 would be completed by Christmas of that year.

“We expected to get it done a lot sooner,” Snyder said.

However, a constraining economy and a subsequent lack of state funding lengthened the process, he said.

“It just took a lot of hard work and contributions from the community to make it happen,” Snyder said.

To meet Uniform Construction Code standards, an earthen, handicapped accessible ramp was installed, and the interior wiring had to meet the code's requirements, as well, Snyder said.

In 2010, one large portion of the renovation process — the installation of a new roof made from hand-split, cedar shingles — was completed by J.R.'s Roofing & Construction of Blairsville.

At the time, O.C. Cluss Lumber/Building Supplies of Uniontown provided 60 bundles worth of the shingles in care of Great Lakes Forest Products Inc. in Powell River, British Columbia, at a cost of nearly $3,000, Snyder said.

Purchase of the shingles was made possible via private donations and fundraising done by the society during the festival in September of that year, as volunteers sold ham sandwiches and bean soup, he said.

The Rotary Club of Mt. Pleasant paid for new windows installed in the building, and its members have been regular contributors otherwise, Snyder said.

“The Rotary has been very good to us,” he said.

Funding was also generated from a pancake breakfast held in 2010 and 2011 at the cabin, Snyder said.

The heating, air conditioning and insulation were completed by DePalma's Plumbing and Heating at a cost of approximately $8,000.

The oak flooring, interior woodwork, and stair rails were completed by Kelly Brown, proprietor of Brown Timber & Land Co. Inc. of Acme, for roughly $8,000.

“He's a very excellent craftsman,” Snyder said.

“That was all financed by private donations and fundraising, also,” said Snyder, who added that Electro-Glass Products of Norvelt has been an invaluable contributor of funding and labor toward completion of the project.

Brown still has work to complete in the cabin on the first and second floor, and in the stairway, Snyder said. Earlier this year, the society was granted an occupancy permit which enables the group to open the cabin to the public.

“We're proud of what we've done there, and we hope the building will last another century without a whole lot of problems,” Snyder said.

House has quite a history

The log house was originally-located on a hillside in Armbrust, Snyder said.

It was purchased by the Overly family in the late 1970s, he said, after which it was refurbished and opened as a historical site which operated into the mid-1980s.

It sat dormant until it was acquired for $1 by the historical society on Dec. 31, 2007.

While the project to restore the house has required sizable funding and calls for considerably more, Snyder said, it was all worth it.

“It's been very much worthwhile to get this building reconstructed to the point we have it. Hopefully we will continue to acquire funding for its maintenance and its upkeep in future,” Snyder said.

Society seeks volunteers for festival

The society is looking for up to 15 volunteers to work in its booth and cabins during festival.

“We need them on all three days for three to four hours shifts,” Meason said.

High school students can fulfill community service required to graduate by taking part, said Heidi Meason, the society's secretary/treasurer.

The society is also accepting new members. To join, call 724-547-9115 or send an email to

A.J. Panian is an editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-547-5722 or

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.