Ten years later, Alice Teichert and Bobby Tamo complete renovations on John Street building in Port Hope
PORT HOPE -- The Orange Hall building on John Street in Port Hope has stood for 140 years, and with the help of two residents and the local branch of the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario (ACO), it will continue to stand for years to come.
Alice Teichert and her husband, Bobby Tamo, both Port Hope artists, bought the building in 2003 and have now renovated the old lodge, as it was formerly called, inside and out. The building includes Ms. Teichert’s studio and gallery on the main floor, and office space upstairs.
In 1874, William Craig, who was then president of the Port Hope Chapter of the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA), bought the land on John Street and built the original building. In 1912, the building was sold to the Salvation Army. The Loyal Orange Association bought the building in 1936. It was sold again for retail space in 1972.
The ACO has declared John Street one of Port Hope’s most recognizable heritage streetscapes and the old Orange Hall building is situated amidst seven other designated heritage properties.
A lot of work was needed to restore the building to its original look, Ms. Teichert said. The couple would never have undertaken restoration of the building without the financial support of the ACO and Port Hope, she added.
“The hall needed a significant amount of repair to stabilize the ceiling. We installed tie rods to support the walls and ceiling, to prevent the hall from shifting,” she said. “I would be working in the studio and the building would frequently make noises, oscillating back and forth.”
An engineer confirmed after many years of sitting on unsettled ground and nearby underground water, the building had been shifting. So much so, the roof line of the south wall had lifted away from the wall by nearly two inches.
“Bobby and I came to realize that saving the structure of the grand hall at the back of this historic place was as important as restoring the yellow brick facade.”
To repair the facade, many bricks had to be replaced after mortar came out when removing paint from the building’s exterior.
Architect and past president of Port Hope’s branch of the ACO, Phil Carter, said everyone involved has been looking forward to seeing the completion of the Orange Hall project.
“The Orange Hall is wonderfully eccentric,” Mr. Carter said.