Cedar shake roof being put on historic Bob-Lo Island blockhouse

 

Boblo Blockhouse1 Boblo Blockhouse2By Ron Giofu

 

Work has begun to put the final touches on the historic blockhouse on the south end of Bob-Lo Island.

Volunteers were at the blockhouse over the weekend to start putting the cedar shake roof on the structure, which is roughly 176-years-old. Bill Brundage, who began efforts to have the blockhouse restored just over three years ago, was joined by Sean Hebert, Wayne King, Grant Bowman, Ralph Phibbs, James Farron, Bob Scheen, Ken Hunter and Jerry Bottos Saturday with work continuing Sunday as well.

“This is the last big step,” said Brundage.

A yard sale held roughly three weeks ago ended up bringing in approximately $5,500 with Bob-Lo Island residents donating items for the sale while some even donated money. Brundage said two people donated $1,000 each while another person donated $500.

“They want to remain anonymous,” said Brundage.

Brundage stated the materials such as the cedar shakes were purchased with proceeds from the yard sale.

With the work nearing completion on the blockhouse, Brundage admitted it was a project he originally never thought he would see finished.

“I never thought I’d see it happen,” he said.

Brundage gave credit to engineer Dr. Norm Becker for his efforts and donations to the blockhouse project.

“If it weren’t for Norm Becker, we wouldn’t have it this far,” said Brundage.

Some of the residents of Bob-Lo helped with the roof project while others came as far as Kingsville and Wheatley, Brundage added.

“We’ve got people from all around to help us today,” he said Saturday afternoon.

Building cabinets to store some of the artifacts unearthed near the blockhouse is the next step with Brundage also wanting to double the main door to the width it is supposed to be. He said the door has to be “double walled” to make it look more original and has obtained help to try and make it look authentic.

“I’m trying to duplicate it the way it was,” said Brundage.

The Bob-Lo blockhouse was open Sundays during the summer months and was part of the Doors Open event held in September. It’s a trend he plans on continuing.

“Next year, we’ll be open Sundays afternoons for people to come through,” said Brundage. “That’s why we did (the restorations) – so people could come through and see it.”

Hebert, a Grade 8 student at Stella Maris School, said he saw the blockhouse when it was in disrepair and got interested in it. He was part of the roofing efforts on the weekend and Brundage said Hebert also helped out at the recent yard sale.

“I saw it falling apart and I said they shouldn’t let this happen,” said Hebert.

Hebert liked what he saw of the restored blockhouse, saying having it look “more historical” is more pleasing to see than the having it continue to fall apart.

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