By Andrew Zimmerman, Multimedia Journalist - email
LECOMPTON, KC (KCTV) -
The 120-year-old Lecompton jail is being moved one stone at a time so it can be closer to the Constitution Hall Historic Site downtown.
A local building company began disassembling the jail Sept. 10 in preparation for its move down the hill from its current site to property purchased by the Lecompton Historical Society.
Society president Paul Bahnmaier says the move will make the jail more accessible to the public.
"It's always kind of been the goal of the Lecompton Historical Society to move it because it's on private property," said Bahnmaier.
Bahnmaier said the owners of the property have always been very accommodating letting tour groups see the jail, but the owners are wanting to expand their home.
Afraid of losing the jail completely, the Lecompton Historical Society sought out a grant to move it.
"We are restoring it down the hill, and we are restoring it exactly as it is," said Doug Callahan with Rockhill and Associates.
Callahan is overseeing the move of just 144 feet. It sounds easy enough but with more than 2,500 stones it is a tedious task.
"All the stones have been circled and numbered on each side on the exterior. And so each one gets it's label and it's number. Then we put em on the ground face down in the order that they come off the building," Callahan said.
But taking the building apart is just half of the job.
"Then we take them down the hill and lay them out again. And then we pick them up and lay each stone into mortar just as it was," Callahan said.
The move essentially makes a 120-year old jail look like a 120-year old jail.
"It was definitely settling and shifting and breaking, but now once it is restored down here, it is going to be good to go for several hundred years," Callahan said.
A Heritage Conservation Council grant is paying $55,000 of the $69,000 cost to move the building, a memorial fund is providing $8,000 and the rest is being covered by members of the historical society.
Copyright 2012 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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