By Lindsay Steele
The Catholic Messenger
CLINTON — Earlier this month, the Catholic Historical Center at St. Boniface received long-awaited funding to fix its derecho-damaged roof.
The Aug. 10, 2020, storm damaged two sides of the historical center’s century-old roof. A temporary covering soon covered the damage, but a lack of funding for a permanent repair left the historical center vulnerable to the elements, said Mary Kay Wik, president of the Catholic Historical Center at St. Boniface. Water occasionally leaked into the historical center after heavy rains, and board members earlier this year expressed concern that the temporary covering, with its six-month lifespan, would not withstand a second winter.
Initially, the historical center hoped to repair the roof with a combination of donations and a Historic Preservation Development Grant, since the building is on the National Register of Historic Places. The Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs denied the request for that specific grant but suggested the historical center apply for an emergency grant through the same program. The historical center received a $15,000 emergency grant, which, combined with about $11,500 in donations, was more than enough to cover the $25,000 cost of repairs, Wik said. “We are jubilant and thankful that we were able to reach our fundraising goal.”
Beckwith Commercial Roofing replaced the broken and missing tiles, matching them “as well as possible” to the original, 113-year-old tiles, Wik said. Beckwith also replaced the flashing, which prevents water from entering the openings and cracks of a roof.
The delay in repairs resulted in some interior damage this summer due to heavy rains. While that was disappointing, the problem is fixable, and the roof repairs should prevent further damage to the area, Wik said.
The historical center, located in the former St. Boniface Church, is home to artifacts from the five original parishes in Clinton, a Knights of Columbus display, a Sisters of St. Francis-Clinton display, and a papal display. The Catholic Historical Center also keeps a list of pre-1970 baptisms, marriages, confirmations and deaths from these churches. The center has taken in items from other closed churches in Clinton County.
With the roof repaired, the board hopes to continue their ministry for years to come. “We are confident that we will be able to put 2020’s derecho and 2021’s rains behind us,” Wik said.