TIPP CITY — Instead of relaxing this holiday weekend, a group of residents will gather up their paint brushes and get ready to take on a project that will require more than just a few day’s labor.
Over the next month, teams of volunteers will scrape the peeling red paint from the exterior of the Roller Mill and stain the siding in an effort to preserve one of the city’s oldest landmarks.
The project is the brainchild of Mike Nygren, Missions Coordinator at Ginghamsburg Church, who organized a committee.
“I’m into history. Old things have always been a part of my life,” Nygren said. He lives in a home that dates back to the 1860s. “Preservation is important to me.”
The mill is one of the oldest existing buildings in Tipp City. It was built in 1839 as a grist mill on the Miami-Erie Canal. The following year, John Clark would establish the town of Tippecanoe just to the west of the canal and the mill.
Since 1996, the mill has been used to host concerts and shows. The Roller Mill is owned by Steve and Sally Watson, who are providing all the supplies for the project.
Nygren said that the Watsons are not benefiting financially from the project, saying instead that the community is coming together to preserve a historic landmark.
The group will not take any monetary donations, but ask that members of the community donate their time and abilities.
Several churches including Ginghamsburg are involved in the project, but rather than just a church event, Nygren hopes to involved the whole community.
“I read The Adventures of Tom Sawyer as a kid,” Nygren said. “I hope that once people see us out there working, they’ll jump on board.”
The Tippecanoe High School wrestling team has signed on work and Nygren hopes that other teams and students looking for community service projects will consider picking up a paint brush.
Project coordinators have also been lucky enough to have a team of carpenters volunteer to make some repairs in advance of painting. Residents with experience operating machinery like cherry pickers have also offered their time.
Nygren said there are jobs for everyone, including painting and scraping at street level for those who can’t climb ladders. And for people who aren’t afraid of heights, there will be work to do from the top of a cherry picker or scaffolding.
“And if you really hate painting, you can bring us coffee and donuts,” Nygren laughed.
The first weekend, work will begin at 8 a.m. on Friday, Sept. 4 and end Monday afternoon. There will be hours for each weekend in September.
For more information about the project, check out www.facebook.com/rollermillproject. To get involved, email Nygren at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Show up and I’ll put you to work,” Nygren said.