Friday, June 17, 2022/Categories: History
Restoration of the Interior
By 1977, there were many sections of plaster that needed to be repaired and repainted. The ceiling and walls were generally very grimy with dirt. The original decoration by G. F. Satory was completed with calcimine paint that would not withstand water. Fr. Bartholomew Dacek, O.S.B., Pastor, and the parish council named a Restoration Committee to study what the options were to repair and repaint the church. Those appointed to serve on this committee were Elmer Skoch, Teresa Stallbaumer, Jill Weixelman and Elmer Ronnebaum.
On September 25, 1977, it was voted at a parish meeting that the parish should proceed with improving the front plaza with new concrete and landscape and to continue to evaluate the interior painting repair and then to work to restore the leaded windows. By November 1 the new plaza was poured, including a handicap ramp.
After an extensive search for qualified artisans, the Restoration Committee recommended that Joseph Oswalt of Waterville, KS be given the chance to demonstrate techniques to restore the interior painting. Oswalt was a commercial artist who had been introduced to the church in 1974 when doing a drawing for an anniversary booklet. Simultaneously, the Restoration Committee pursued the application to have St. Mary’s Church listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
With the demonstration area completed on the south side of the choir and ceiling section, a contract was approved to have Oswalt work as an independent contractor to restore the entire 22,000 square feet of the church interior walls and ceiling. Assisting him were his wife Anita and workers Chari Johnson and Kathy Montgomery who both lived at Vermillion, Kan.
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