Volunteers hope new patio brings fun and shade

Staff writer

Guests of the Harvey House Museum in Florence often visit to tour its inside, but now an outdoor space can also be enjoyed despite the hot summer sun.

Last week a two-man crew consisting of George Grimmett Jr. and his son, Tyson, finished a roofed patio to enclose the current bricked patio.

“We’ve had the brick area for quite some time but it was not utilized well because it was in the sun,” Harvey House volunteer Judy Mills said.

The annual fish fry is on the steamy patio, but Mills hopes guests can now find a shady reprieve from the hot summer sun under the new covered patio.

Grimmett began construction on April 26. In order to keep with the patio’s current theme of a railroad baggage claim platform, he constructed the patio out of 6-by-6 posts and a green tin roof.

“The roof has a soffit ceiling like they did around 1900,” Grimmett said.

He said it took seven days to construct.

The former patio area was originally built as a foundation for a wooden depot the Historical Society planned to move next to the Harvey House in the 1970s. The night before it was to be placed on the platform it mysteriously caught fire, Mills said.

“We suspect arson but that has never been proven,” Mills said. “After that the foundation walls and sand floor remained for several years.”

Mills said she remembers laying the brick floor to make the area into a patio.

“We laid a lot of bricks,” she said.

The brick is from a former train platform that would have been in use during the time the Harvey House was constructed.

Mills hopes the patio will be a useful addition allowing the Historical Society and the town to use the area for more summer events, now that there is some shade available.

Funds for the patio were donated from the Neva Robinson memorial fund. Robinson was an avid supporter of the Harvey House and the Historical Society.

“Her husband thought this would be the best way to honor her,” volunteer Edna Robinson said. “The patio was built at his suggestion.”

She said the patio looks great, and she is excited to see what events will take place under the awning.

“I imagine we’ll try to hold more outdoor events and possibly lease it out for the community to use,” she said.

 

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