It was a scene ripped from history — construction-work circa 1910 — last week at Dallas Heritage Village, and Lake Highlands’ Ron Siebler was one of the players.
The Lake Highlands resident and remodeler, who was featured in last year’s Home Design issue (this year’s should be on doors next week, by the way), also happens to be a historic restoration specialist.
Last week, he and a crew began work on an old church located on the grounds of Dallas Heritage Village in the Downtown area.
Intriguingly, they tackled one half of the job just as they would have way back before power drills and nail guns (my construction gear vocabulary is limited, but you get the idea), using only hand tools, scaffolding, ladders, and “historically informed methods,” Siebler tells us. They even dressed in the clothes of the era — denim overalls or jeans kept afloat by suspenders and plaid button ups, it appears.
On the other side of the old Pilot Grove Church, men donning current-day construction wear used contemporary tools.
“This juxtaposition allowed park visitors to see and compare a century’s difference of doing the same work on the same structure,” Siebler notes.
And those lucky enough to be at the park that day got an extra treat: “In addition to the work on the building, a roped-off area in front of the church provided the public an opportunity to work with a hand saw, a bit and brace, breast drill, wood plane and other old tools of the trade,” Siebler says. “Drilling holes with a bit and brace seemed to be the most popular activity of the day.”
Photos by Drew Timmons.