The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Lifestyle

September 11, 2007

Wheeler home under restoration

The Wheeler Home – home of the famous Gen. Joe “Fightin’ Joe” Wheeler – is under construction to prepare the site to be reopened to the public.

“The ol’ girl was getting her hip replaced and a new facelift,” said Melissa Beasley, site director at Pond Springs and Belle Mont Mansion.

According to The Alabama Historical Commission Web site, the main house at Pond Spring was closed January 1, 2000, and will reopen after extensive restorations are complete.

The current phase of restoration involves the foundation of the home, both porches and the stabilization of the out buildings. The goal is to restore the exterior of the Wheeler home and the attached Sherrod home, eventually leading to the refurbishment of the interior and mechanical workings of the home. When all work is completed, artifacts will be displayed in the homes again.

The Wheeler Home has valuable insights into a time in the past. It shows architecture and gives a clue into the everyday life at the turn of the century, said Leland Free, who serves on the board of The Friends of the General Joe Wheeler Foundation.

“It’s like walking into a time machine,” he said.

Beasley agrees.

“The fur, the uniforms, the medals and all of the items, they really tell a story, not just of Gen. Joe Wheeler and his family but of Alabama,” she said.

Cheryl Sneddon is one of many working to preserve the items inside of the time-capsule home. She is the coordinator of collections for the Alabama Historical Commission for the Pond Spring collection. She records and catalogs items found in the house suitable to museum standards, monitors the collection and is in charge of the preservation and cleaning of the items.

“I make sure they are in the best possible condition right now,” Sneddon said. “You have to start at where it was and go from there.”

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