By Lena Mitchell
Daily Journal Corinth Bureau
CORINTH – By summer’s end work is expected to begin on interior restoration of the Verandah-Curlee House Museum, with an eye toward being open again for tours in the spring or summer of 2015.
Much that Siege and Battle of Corinth Commission leaders thought could be completed already has been delayed after learning the need for much more extensive infrastructure work than expected, reported Chairwoman Rosemary Williams during this week’s annual meeting of the Friends of the Siege and Battle of Corinth Commission.
“The entire property must be restored, which includes the house and outbuildings,” Williams said. They also found that electrical and plumbing as well as the irrigation system throughout the grounds must be replaced.
The 1857 home was built by Hamilton Mask in the Greek architectural style, but was modified by Shelby Hammond Curlee after his family purchased the property in the 1870s. He introduced electricity, plumbing, a kitchen, bathroom and other amenities in the 1920s and 1930s.
Exterior work on the house has been mostly completed, and the restoration work not only makes the house look beautiful, but also has brought it back to a state of structural soundness that will last at least another century, she said.
Brick walkways are being reinstalled using many original unique 8-inch-square bricks made in Rienzi in the 1850s, and after the irrigation system is replaced sod will be laid throughout the grounds.
Americans with Disabilities Act requirements must be met for both property access and public restrooms, which are in the outbuilding.
A cottage on the property will have exterior cosmetic work, but Williams said it is still in pretty good shape.
“We have to get all of that done before any painting and decorating inside,” she said.
Once the interior restoration is complete, the house will not be used for weddings or meetings because such events would undo all that work. However, the grounds would be available for weddings, receptions and more.
Contractors who are helping to develop the plan to decorate, furnish and interpret the interior are also devising fresh approaches to appeal to a broader audience.
“They’re looking at ways to tell the stories in a more interesting and modern way, rather than simply a walk-through focused only on the Civil War History,” Williams said.