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Timmons Temple front porch restoration begins Saturday

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Timmons Temple was relocated in March 2015, when it was successfully moved about 600 feet from 934 E. Webster to Silver Springs Park, but the porch was removed and the stones placed in storage. On Saturday, masons will rebuild the porch using the original stones with new mortar. here, Tilton & Sons of Carthage completes the final leg of a 100-foot move, using special remote-controlled hydraulic dollies powered by a generator which travels with the structure.

The Timmons Temple restoration hits another milestone this weekend, as work on the rock masonry front porch begins outside the historic church in Silver Springs Park, 1100 N. Hampton Ave.

Dan Hall, of Fair Grove-based Hall Concrete, began restoring the front porch March 16, using stones from the original structure, and matching masonry on the building’s new external stairs and ramp. Work is expected to continue through the end of March (work is planned to take place Saturday, March 18.)

“We are excited to be involved in the restoration of the porch,” says Hall, whose masonry work includes fireplaces, walls, patios, and restoring a log cabin in Fair Grove. “It is our challenge and intent to match the visual and physical integrity of the masonry of the building, right down to getting the right color match of the new mortar to the existing mortar of the building.”

The porch was removed before Timmons Temple was relocated in March 2015, when it was successfully moved about 600 feet from 934 E. Webster to Silver Springs Park. The porch stones have been in storage, and will now be integrated with new mortar.

The electric work follows extensive interior improvements made earlier this year at Timmons Temple, including connection to water, sanitary sewer and electric service; plumbing; framing; installation of new restrooms; new concrete steps, ramp and sidewalks; and lights and electric work. Much of the work has been donated through the Building and Construction Trade Council of Springfield and Vicinity, which coordinated work through its apprenticeship program.

Timmons Temple Church of God in Christ served Springfield’s African-American community for more than 80 years before it was sold and slated for demolition in 2014. Nonprofit group Save Timmons Temple (now Friends of Timmons Temple) raised private donations to preserve the church and move it about 600 feet into Silver Springs Park. The church was preserved because of its historic significance as well as its unique stone exterior, including ornate rock sunburst patterns also found in retaining walls in Silver Springs Park.

The Timmons Temple renovation is financed entirely by donations and in-kind labor to Friends of Timmons Temple, with the fund managed by the Community Foundation of the Ozarks. When renovations are complete, the building will serve as an event center managed by the Springfield-Greene County Park Board.

Fundraising efforts continue for the building’s infill and renovation, including refinishing the original pine floors, plaster repair, HVAC, doors, windows, and interpretive displays. Nearly $40,000 more is needed to complete the $250,000 project.

George Freeman is a veteran journalist and photographer. An award-winning writer, editor and columnist in Springfield, Mo., with more than 50 years experience. His preference is for positive and uplifting stories about people, places, traditions and trends that make the Ozarks one of the most livable regions anywhere. A member of the Garden Writers Association of America, he is a past-president of the Society of Professional Journalists of Southwest Missouri, the Kansas and Ohio AP societies; a board member of Friends of the Garden and a member of the Rotary Club of Springfield. In 1976, he traveled to India as a member of a Rotary Foundation Group Study Exchange Team.

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