Light……it’s an amazing thing. I never stopped to think about it much until we became the caretakers of The Mac.
Just in case you were wondering, there are 53 windows and 5 skylights on the 2nd story of The Mac. When we first toured her last spring, only 3 of those were exposed. The rest were covered. Once we got everything exposed and the light started flooding in, she looked like a whole different place.
Here is a glimpse out of the front window on the northwest corner of the Mac. We were so fortunate to have found this summer a room full of the original window screens so we have enjoyed cool breezes as the clean up began.
With the cool mornings and October here, we’ve got to start thinking about how we are going to get her buttoned up for the winter.
With this being a tax credit project, we have very specific guidelines when it comes to dealing with our windows. Ideally, we want to repair and reuse as many as possible. There are a few that have not fared well and will have to be replaced. In doing so, we must take care in replacing them with an exact replica. Nearly every time I have mentioned windows and historic buildings in the same sentence, I been advised, “you need to call the guy in Wekoka”. So after googling “windows, wekoka, OK & historic preservation” I found just whom I was looking for.
Last week, Rob and I loaded up with 2 windows in tow and took the hour long drive southeast to Wewoka, OK. This guy greeted us at the door.
Dennis called her Sissy and she never got to close to any of us. She was making a pretty steady loop around the inside of the fence that surrounds the shop at Wewoka Window Works. It was no surprise at all when, later in the conversation, it was revealed that they have never had an intruder there.
So on a raining Oklahoma morning, our education about wood windows began.
Dennis Myers started in the window repair trade upon his retirement as a general contractor in 1994. Since that time he has purchased the former TH Rogers site and has one shop there and another in this beautiful building on the main street in Wewoka.
We had at least hour long discussion about rails, glass, sills, weights, bondo, paint and glazing. We saw some sample pieces in the showroom. There was little doubt in my mind that we had been advised correctly to come meet him. When Dennis asked if we would like to see some of the work they were doing in the shop on site, we hopped out of our chairs like kindergarteners. That was a dumb question…….we had been “itching” to see just that since we walked in the door.
I knew we were in for a treat.
This warehouse full of all kinds of assorted wood was just overwhelming. (I think I even caught Rob drooling over it).
Then we got to see where the magic happens.
When I asked him if he’d consider coming to Okmulgee to meet with the others who are pursuing downtown building renovations, I was so pleased (and not surprised) that his answer was “sure”.
So last week, I get to see my new friend Dennis again and introduce him to my old friends in Downtown Okmulgee. He was the presenter for the Economic Restructuring meeting we had for Okmulgee Main Street.
For an hour, Dennis schooled 15 of us in the world of wood windows and how to preserve, restore and replace them. He toured the Mac and basically talked himself out of much of a job as he deemed most of our windows repairable. We ended our day sharing lunch at Kirby’s Café and by the time I bid him safe travels back to Wewoka at 2:30 that afternoon, I knew for certain I had just made a lifelong friend in Dennis.
This started out as a project to save an old building and restore it to her former glory. But it has become so much more.