Edinboro’s Doucette House gets new roof

What do you do when you discover water is leaking into your house and through your second floor ceilings?  You put on a new roof!

Trucks and ladders strategically placed around the Doucette House Museum are clues that a serious roofing project is underway.

In the case of the Edinboro Area Historical Society’s Doucette House Museum, the solution wasn’t quite that simple.

The Doucette House Museum, one of Edinboro’s earliest “great homes,” was constructed in 1861 by John B. Clark in the popular Italianate style.  Italianate style homes were the most popular homes built during America’s early Victorian era.  American Italianate houses were rectangular in shape and generally two stories. They included decorative moulding, tall windows, and low pitched roofs with wide, overhanging eaves… and there-in lies the problem.  Asphalt shingles, our normal roofing material, shouldn’t be applied to low pitched roofs.

Employees of McCreary Roofing Co. are seen installing the new roof on the Edinboro Area Historical Society's Doucette House Museum. The signature cupola is in the background.

In order to protect this fine structure and the important collections contained in it, the Society’s House Committee, led by Gerry Woods, quickly found McCreary Roofing Co., a contractor who could apply a seamless rubber membrane, the appropriate roofing material for this style of a structure, in the short amount of time needed.  Because of its method of application, the membrane needed to be installed in warm weather.

In order to help pay for the new roof, Edinboro Area Historical Society President Phyllis K. Woods and board member Allan Montgomery quickly submitted a grant application to the Erie Community Foundation for emergency funding.  In a short number of days the foundation reported back to the committee that it would approve $5000 towards the project, thus allowing work to begin almost immediately.

Before the old roof could be torn off and the new one put in place, the walkway and railing around the cupola needed to be removed.  With those elements out of the way, ladders were erected, yards of roofing removed and a new seamless rubber membrane applied.  The cupola surroundings will be replaced soon.

This important project is a classic example of the Erie Community Foundation at work, doing what it does best.  The emergency grant paid for approximately one-third of the total cost of the new roof, and is helping the Society protect the cultural heritage of Edinboro.

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