On Meeker Mansion’s exterior, chipped paint and weathered boards are telltale signs that the century-old structure is in desperate need of a paint job.
That’s what Puyallup Historical Society members have been saying for years.
This summer, that paint job will happen — even if it’s not in the way they hoped. The $50,000 project will be paid for in part from the historical society’s reserve fund.
“We’re going to do it,” said Andy Anderson, Puyallup Historical Society president. “We have the money, but it wasn’t meant for this.”
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So far, fundraising and grants reeled in about $30,000 for the project, and it isn’t quite enough. But Anderson said the project will move forward anyway — for the simple reason that Meeker Mansion needs it.
The current paint job is well past its predicted life.
Andy Anderson, Puyallup Historical Society president
“The current paint job is well past its predicted life,” Anderson said.
Since the Puyallup Historical Society acquired the mansion, it has needed around three to four paint jobs. But the last paint project was more than 18 years ago.
With federal regulations requiring painters to comply with lead paint laws, the paint was safer to use, but didn’t stay on as long. Over time, the price tag for a repaint project grew exponentially.
With the lead of former Historical Society president Bob Minnich, members took to fundraising and acquiring grants.
“Bob has been pushing this for years,” Anderson said.
Last fall, Minnich fell ill, and Anderson took over the role of president. As a group, the Puyallup Historical Society decided to move forward with the paint project, and signed a painting contract earlier this year.
Last Wednesday, Minnich, 67, died while in hospice care.
Meeker Mansion’s hired painter, CW Door, has already sectioned off the exterior red borders of the house where there’s lead in the paint.
“It’s two parts, it’s painting the building and dealing with the little remaining lead,” Anderson said.
Painter Russell Arnold said that the company takes on restoration projects like Meeker Mansion’s often, and hopes to get it done quickly, if weather permits.
“We’re painting in sections,” Arnold said. “We’re hoping the weather will stay good enough.”
The project is expected to last one to two months and will keep all the original paint colors. After, the structure won’t need another paint job for about 10 years.
The mansion will stay open for tours during project.
“The mansion is always open when work is being done,” Anderson said. “Wander by and say hi.”