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Museum (Finally) Gets A New Roof
Local contractors David and Dan Wilcox started working on the roof of the Museum on Tuesday, Sept. 3 and had to remove three layers of the roof which included what seemed to be the original wood shingles from 90 years ago. - photo by VIRGINIA STILL/THE NEWS

After five years of requesting a new roof from the City of Riverbank, the Riverbank Historical Society and Museum at 3237 Santa Fe is finally undergoing construction of a new roof.

President of the Historical Society, Paulette Roberson, joined the society about three years ago. She retired from Riverbank Unified School District after 40 years of teaching in the district.

The building the museum inhabits is owned by the City of Riverbank and before Roberson became a member the society had already begun the fight for the new roof.

“We had water stains and peeling plaster on the inside and it just really needed some work if we were going to save the artifacts and all the really important irreplaceable items that are in there,” explained Roberson.

The first two years that Roberson was part of the Society she joined the group that was adamant about the city paying for the new roof since they did own the building. The Historical Society got no response from the city regarding their request.

Former Historical Society President Leanne Jones attended a city council meeting over five years ago and, according to Roberson, started the campaign for the new roof then.

Finally, at some point last year someone suggested that the City of Riverbank would pay half if the Society would pay the other half for the new roof. Roberson said the members of the Historical Society had been thinking about it and finally agreed to pay for half of the cost of the roof.

The members started thinking about how they were going to raise funds and decided to use the funds from the annual omelet breakfast specifically for the new roof.

Past President Preston Tucker has been a member of the Riverbank Rotary Club for several years and the Rotary gave Tucker an honorarium of $500 to go toward the roof for the museum. Along with the donation made in Tucker’s name, the Rotary also donated the money they collect with the fines (for various ‘offenses’ such as being caught doing good or appearing in the newspaper) that are paid at regular meetings to help with the cost of the new roof. All the proceeds that the Rotary raised at the Wednesday Night Out festivities were also donated to the Historical Society for the project costs.

“They have this little pot where they throw this money in and then they look for a worthy cause to give that money to,” said Roberson of being presented with the fines collected. “They also gave that to us which was another $300 so the Rotary has been a huge supporter.

“Then the donations just started rolling in.”

The Royal Neighbors, a dental office and the Center for Spiritual Learning were among the other organizations that donated to help the Historical Society get their new roof.

At the end of August Roberson finally had the full amount needed to get the roof replaced so she took a check to Riverbank City Manager Jill Anderson.

Parks and Recreation Director Sue Fitzpatrick found a local contractor, American Family Home Roofing owned by Dan and David Wilcox to start the construction of the new roof.

Wilcox stated that there were three layers on the roof that needed to come off before they could start the installation of the new roof. He also explained that it seemed as if the roof may have been repaired every 30 years with a new layer being added each time, rather than one taken off and a new one put on. The layer on the bottom appeared to be the original wood shingles from when the building was first built back in the 1920s.

“Sue really worked hard on finding us a local person whom we wanted, as well as someone that would do good work,” said Roberson. “I am just tickled that they are working on the roof, it just seems like it has been a long haul.”

Construction of the new roof started on Tuesday, Sept. 3. With completion anticipated soon, Historical Society members are pleased they won’t have to worry about any leaks once the rainy season sets in.