Water leak, bugs weaken Searls’ floor | TheUnion.com

Water leak, bugs weaken Searls’ floor

Old buildings like Nevada City’s Searls Historical Library require a lot of tender loving care.

For the next several days, workers will replace a section of wooden floor that has been weakened by water leaks, termites and powder post beetles, volunteers said this week. The work began Thursday.

Volunteers realized something was wrong when an 8-foot-tall steel cabinet containing legal reports from the Gold Rush era started tilting forward, library volunteer Elmabel Rohrman said Tuesday. Then a hole in the floor was found.

Paul Hinshelwood, president of the Nevada County Historical Society, said the cost of the repairs has yet to be determined, but could reach several thousand dollars.

“We just don’t know,” Rohrman said.

The Historical Society, which owns the 648-square-foot building, will pay for repairs with donations, Hinshelwood said. No fund-raisers have been scheduled.

A new carpet will also be installed, Rohrman said. She hopes all the work will be completed by May 4, when all of the county’s museums open their doors to the public for Museum Discovery Day

Don Hudson, the contractor hired to do the work, and his crew have found several items when they removed a section of the old floor: a undated metal fly swatter, the porcelain top of a square box, bones and several pieces of glass. Hudson is considering bringing in his metal detector.

Built in 1872, the building housed the law offices of three generations of the Searls family. The last Searls worked there until November 1970.

For information or to make a donation, call Hinshelwood at 272-1743.

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