Restoring Pope Estate an ongoing process |

Restoring Pope Estate an ongoing process

Jim Grant

The Pope house, site of this weekend's Gatsby Festival needs a new roof.

Seeing an opportunity to acquire lakefront access for public use, the federal government purchased the Pope Estate for $750,000 in 1965.

Managed by the Forest Service, the property located west of Camp Richardson Resort included the main house and more than 20 buildings on 38 acres.

For nearly 20 years, no preservation work was done at the property, and the house and buildings sat boarded up, according to the assistant director for the site. Then, in the early 1980s, Forest Service restoration specialist Linda Cole arrived on site to supervise the property, and restoration work began. Cole also started a volunteer program to help with the work, which continues to this day.

The Pope Estate originally was built in 1894 when George Tallant of Crocker Bank bought some shoreline property from E.J. “Lucky” Baldwin and built a small house to be used as a summer retreat. In 1899, the property was sold to the Tevis family, who enlarged the house and built most of the outbuildings on the site, including the arboretum in 1901. In 1913, the Tevis family went bankrupt and lost the estate around 1920.

A year later, George Pope Sr. purchased the buildings and land for $100,000. The family, who owned the estate until 1965, made very few changes to the property, adding only the second-floor exterior sleeping porches, one of which was destroyed by a falling tree in 1979, and some small cabins.

After years of neglect, the estate buildings were beginning to deteriorate, and restoration work was started in the early 1980s when the government purchased the property. Nine buildings and secondary structures were removed, including the boat dock and pier, gardener’s house, an ice house and two boathouses. The site was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1987.

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The early 1990s saw two major restoration projects under the guidance of Cole, including the repair of the foundation and the south dining room wall, which was leaning away from the rest of the house. Many smaller but important projects were completed in the late 1990s into the 2000s ” and documented in the Tribune ” including electrical work, painting, upholstering, carpeting, flooring, hanging of wall cloth and creating displays.

Restoration efforts are continuing this summer with roof work on a small cabin and some vegetation rehabilitation, according to assistant site director Jackie Dumin.

“One major project we are still trying to complete this summer is replacing the historical roof on the main house,” Dumin said. “We had some water damage on the wall cloth inside Mr. Pope’s office this past winter, and patching the roof is not a viable option. We have the materials, but we are looking for someone to donate time to replace the roof before winter hits.”

“Future projects may include rebuilding the west side sleeping porch and rehabilitating the polo field,” Dumin added.