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Chatham Historical Society to repair St. Lawrence House roof

Posted Sunday, March 5, 2006

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Pittsboro, NC - The Chatham County Historical Association will repair the roof of the historic Patrick St. Lawrence House on South Street, Pittsboro. The roof needs replacing, but as a temporary, emergency measure, the group will finance repairs to forestall further deterioration of the interior of the building.

The historical group has issued an appeal to the citizens of Chatham County to contribute to the Repair-the-Roof Fund by sending donations to CCHA, P. O. Box 93, Pittsboro, NC 27312, dropping off cash donations at the Chatham Historical Museum in the historic Chatham County Courthouse on Wednesday afternoons between 12 and 3 p.m.

The future status of the 1787 "Yellow House" – so-called because of its original exterior color – is uncertain because of county government plans to erect its new judicial center on the site. Two other houses, the McClenahan House and Terry-Taylor House, may also be in jeopardy from construction plans, and the historical society is working with the county to find a way to preserve these three pieces of architectural and cultural history.

Certainly the most elegant of the three houses is the Patrick St. Lawrence House, which has been called by an architectural historian "an outstanding rural example of Georgian/Federal architecture." Its striking and unusual interior feature is a moveable wall that, when raised, opens up the main room to include the entry and staircase and connect directly with two parlors. The staircase with its elegant newel posts and balusters is said to be fashioned from imported wood. Other handsome features are the window moldings, similar inside and out, and elaborate chair rails. While remarkably well-kept for a 219-year-old structure, the massive sills and joists that support the two-story structure are beginning to show deterioration from insect damage. But the critical damage is water from a leaking roof, which has softened ceilings and endangers floors and walls.

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