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Wells Historical Society saved the USC archways

By Staff | Jun 14, 2015

The two Kasota limestone arches over the main doorways into the old United South Central school building will be saved from the wrecking ball when the school is demolished this week.

But, it took a dedicated effort to raise $38,500 in 14 days in order to do it.

The Wells Historical Society started a fundraising effort on May 29 to raise the money to have the arches saved. By the deadline time of Monday, June 8, they had done it.

“We are so happy that everyone helped out to raise the money,” says Ila Teskey, president of the Wells Historical Society. “It would have been a shame to have them destroyed.”

Teskey says the plan is to put the two archways back to back just east of the Wells Depot Museum.

“We plan to build a sidewalk which will connect the Veterans Memorial with the Depot Museum, and the archways will be over the sidewalk, nearer to the museum,” she explains. “And we will incorporate the two cornerstones along with the archways.”

The $38,500 will cover the cost of having the archways and cornerstones removed prior to demolition and then cleaned and restored.

“There are a total of 125 pieces between the two archways, and each piece has to be cleared of brick and mortar and cleaned up and then be ready to be put back together,” Teskey says.

The company doing the work is Building Restoration Company of Roseville.

Teskey says the historical society will have to raise some additional funds for the actual installation of the archways, and she is not sure at this time just when that will occur.

There might be an added bonus to the historical society with this project, Teskey admits.

“Both of the cornerstones have a space inside for a time capsule,” she says. “But we don’t know if there is actually one inside. But we do know there is a time capsule by the flagpole. So there could be three of them.”

Whatever is inside would eventually be on display in the Wells Depot Museum.

The historical society was able to raise the funds and save the archways just in the nick of time. As soon as they are removed from the building, crews from another company are expected to move in this week and take the structure down.