The doctor explained to Kate O'Cull exactly what she could do to ensure a long, sturdy life — for her nearly 100-year-old home just south of Medina's quaint square. "She went around and looked at things with us. She definitely had some pointers," O'Cull says.
The checkup was sponsored by the Ohio Historical Society, which sends a team of "building doctors" on tour each year. The result is a series of free two-day clinics designed to help you learn how to maintain the historic building in your life. The team will be in Chardon on July 19 and 20, and in Chagrin Falls on Oct. 11 and 12.
The clinics start with a seminar on topics such as window care and water damage. On day two, the building doctors give checkups to local structures. They begin at the roof and work their way down each edifice, diagnosing such ailments as leaky gutters, peeling paint, rotting wood or deteriorating plaster, and prescribing the necessary treatments. All of the "doctors on call" have preservation experience and degrees in history, architecture, city planning and/or business administration.
If you can't have your house inspected by a professional, it's possible to give it the once-over on your own, keeping a sharp eye for wet basements, clogged drainage systems and moldy wood. "If a small problem is taken care of right away, this could help save the house indefinitely," says Mariangela Pfister, the program's coordinator. "And most of these buildings feature structures and details impossible to find anywhere else, or [that] are too expensive to replicate."
Which is exactly what drew Kate O'Cull and husband Ryan to their home, which they moved into last month. "We were looking at homes in the area around Medina and both Ryan and I just had a strong pull toward older homes," Kate says. "We'd find a million things we just loved about it. They had so much character. We'd go into newer homes and just wouldn't get that same feeling of home."
For more information or to schedule a tour for your city (there is a waiting list), call the Ohio Historical Society at (800) 499-2470 or visit it on the Web at www.ohiohistory.org.