A nearly $195,000 restoration project is winding down at Detwiler Manor in Wauseon, with work scheduled to wrap up by Sept. 2.
The 86-year-old office building at 604 S. Shoop Ave. has been undergoing extensive work to repair years of wear and tear, Fulton County Administrator Vond Hall said. The project was approved earlier this year by the county commissioners, and Thomas Construction of Swanton was awarded a bid of $194,952 bid in May.
An engineer’s original estimate for the job was $260,000. The project will be paid for with capital improvement funds.
The major list of repairs has included replacing: deteriorated wood, and wrapping new wood in white aluminum; gutters and downspouts with a continuous no-seam system; the roof with a 30-year commercial asphalt shingle roof; deteriorated mortar and brick; deteriorated masonry at first floor west wing; and deteriorated caulking.
Hall said it’s been business as usual in the building as the work has progressed. He said portions of the building were in a state of deterioration but never posed a danger to the occupants.
The restoration involved 20 workers. “It is just a preventive maintenance on the building, so we can keep from having major problems in the furture,” said Maintenance Supervisor Todd Bingham.
Detwiler Manor last underwent renovation in 1996. It was converted into an office building when nursing home services within were transferred to the Fulton Manor facility at the Fulton County Health Center, located further down Shoop Avenue.
The Detwiler building opened in January 1930 as the DeEtte Harrison Detwiler Memorial Hospital. It was built, in part, using grant money from James K. Detwiler, a Californian whose late wife DeEtte had been a Wauseon native. Detwiler’s contribution was paired with $160,000 awarded by the Commonwealth Fund of New York, N.Y., and a $64,000 endowment from more than 4,000 community members.
Less than three years before, Wauseon Hospital Superintendent Emma Shumaker had balked at the facility’s “deplorable” conditions. According to 1930 newspaper accounts, a Mrs. Nellie Gorsuch visited the aging hospital in 1927, and “decided that the time had arrived when better hospitalization methods were sorely needed and that if people in the community were made aware of the actual facts of existing conditions that there would be no organized resistance to bettering the situation.”
The new Detwiler hospital had facilities for 46 adults, six children, and 12 infants, and was toured by thousands of people after opening its doors.
Unfortunately, the hospital didn’t progress with the changing times. There was still no air conditioning by the latter 1960s, oxygen still came in portable tanks, and patients called for assistance with hand-held bells.
In 1973, when the Fulton County Health Center opened its doors, the Detwiler building was transformed into the county nursing home, which remained there for 22 years. The building now houses offices for county departments and agencies.
David J. Coehrs can be reached at 419-335-2010.