New roof goes on old jail

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 16, 2004

An old friend is beginning to look spiffy again.

This week, workers began installing a new truss system for a new roof at the Historic Jail at Burlington. This is the first step in putting a new roof on the stone structure that is being restored

and transformed into an Underground Railroad museum.

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Mid-America Group of Newport, Mich., which also has an office in Ashland, Ky., is performing the truss work.

The trusses were manufactured by 4-J Truss Co. in Proctorville. The truss work should be finished this week,

according to Historic Jail at Burlington committee member Dave Milem. After that, H.L. Forbes Inc., of Ashville, N.C., will install the actual roofing material.

"It's going to be a stainless steel roof with a coating on it that will make it look old," Milem said. "It takes a few months but the coating will discolor and look antique, but it will be a lifetime job."

The entire roofing project should be completed by mid-October, Milem said.

Several fund-raising projects are under way now to pay for the next phase of the restoration: the installation of a new floor and doors.

The old stone jail was built before the Civil War, when Burlington was still the county seat. When the county government was moved to Ironton in 1851, the old buildings at Burlington fell into private hands, changing ownership many times over the next century and a half before being purchased by the county. The old jail is the only one of the county's original government buildings left standing.