The Barn Manager had an idea
Connie Hoffman, Venue Manager of The Barn at Stratford, spent over a year studying, researching, the Wedding Venue business. She visited wedding venues and wedding venue website. She talked with brides and brides to be about their weddings, their search for a venue, what they were looking for and whether they found it. Connie became well versed in what a wedding venue should have and that included a Gazebo. A Gazebo that the Bride can decorate just so, and make it the special focal point of her special day when they say “I DO”.
In the early planning stages of The Barn at Stratford, Connie shared her vision of a gazebo with the Delaware County Historical Society board of trustees. They were asked for ideas on how the society might obtain a gazebo for the new event venue. However no ideas surfaced.
A lunch with Drs. Charles and Susan Hickey
Dr. Charles Hickey is a noted OSU ophthalmologist and eye surgeon. He and his wife, Dr. Susan Hickey, have a deep interest in history as evidenced by this webpage on the Underground Railroad and their Mechanicsburg home. The Doctors chose to pursue a dream and moved to Mechanicsburg Ohio to a historic 1840 country home at 129 S Main Street.
Connie and Mike had done work for Drs. Hickey some years ago. Through working together, they found common interests in farms, barns, old houses, and history. Connie and Mike kept in touch even after the Hickeys move to Mechanicsburg. In fact, they were invited to lunch, in August 2015, at the Hickey’s historic Mechanicsburg home.
During the course of that luncheon, Connie shared about her new situation with The Delaware County Historical Society as Venue Manager for The Barn at Stratford. She also mentioned that she was searching for a gazebo which many brides desire to complete their image of a dream barn wedding. It seemed that available gazebos are hard to find. On hearing this Susan, informed Connie that she knew someone who had an available gazebo!
The origin of the Gazebo
Susan Hickey describes the origin of the gazebo: ” The gazebo was designed by Feinknopf Macioce Schappa Inc. and it was built by Miles McClelland Construction. The gazebo design and build were donated as a silent auction item for a Franklin Park Conservatory fundraiser 16 years ago. The minimum bid was $3,000. Chuck was at this fundraiser, and there were no bids on the gazebo, so he bid the minimum, and it was the only bid. Miles McClelland came to build the gazebo in our side yard, and in the middle of the project, a neighbor complained that it violated zoning laws. It turned out that the gazebo should have been built several feet further from the back lot line, an oversight which was due to misinterpreting the UA zoning code. We went to the zoning board to request a variance. A representative from Miles McClelland and about a dozen of our neighbors came to this meeting in support of our gazebo, and the person who made the complaint did not show up. The zoning board granted our variance with the only stipulation being that we must always keep the gazebo a natural color. “
The Hickey’s lived in Upper Arlington at 1590 Barrington Road for many years. When they moved to a historic home in Mechanicsburg Ohio, they sold their UA home to Paul Kreitler.
The man with the Gazebo
Paul Kreitler is an acquaintance of the Hickeys. He is part of LFG Inc. (Landmark Facilities Group) which describes itself as “Landmark Facilities Group is an engineering design firm specializing in high-quality mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and fire protection systems. Its expert teams provide architects, owners, and building maintenance staff high quality solutions in sensitive design projects.” Mr. Kreitler has worked to modernize and protect a number of significant historic properties.
Paul Kreitler purchased the Hickey’s lot on Barrington Road in 2014. By Fall of 2015, he needed to clear the lot. Through mutual friends Connie learned of the situation. To her delight, Paul was quite willing to donate the gazebo and preserve it, if it could be removed safely.
Connie brought the matter to the Society’s Board of Trustees at its September 2015 meeting. The Board readily agreed “to authorize spending up to $1500 for the transportation and placement of the gazebo. ”
A lesson in Gazebo relocation
Mike and Connie Hoffman, along with Roger Koch, visited the site to assess what was involved in removing the Gazebo.
The gazebo was kept in place by six posts that were held in concrete piers. Mike found that opening up the floor provided access to cut the beams and release the gazebo. Problem solved.
The gazebo’s fifteen-foot height added to the height of a truck bed was too much for transport. The Gazebo’s cap would be hitting lines and traffic signals, it would require special permits and a police escort $$$. That also blocked many underpasses from a usable transport route.
Connie’s son, Scott, is in the business of excavating which requires transporting large equipment. He had a truck that would hold the gazebo, but his trailer was not up to the task of pulling that long, wide, and tall a load. Scott had a friend who was willing lend him a brand-new, oversized trailer with a winch to pull the gazebo unto the deck, to complete the transport package. With that package, the gazebo was one inch below the legal height!
So that Paul Kreitler could have the lot for delivery as promised, the plan was to use the winter’s frozen-hard ground to allow the equipment to remove the gazebo. A good plan, except not this year. The mild temperatures frustrated every attempt that Mike and Scott made to remove the gazebo.
The move to The Barn at Stratford
On May 28, 2016, Mike and Scott assembled the transport package of truck and trailer. They drove to Arlington, separated the gazebo from its concrete footings and moved the trailer into position. A winch and cable coaxed the gazebo onto the trailer and into a secure position for travel.
With Mike following behind, Scott carefully navigated the streets and orange barrels to Stratford Road in Delaware.
Reversing the loading process, they delivered the Gazebo intact to its new home at The Barn at Stratford.
It proudly waited aside the lower barn until Mike added a new footing skirt and Connie added the colorful blooming flowers in each of the built-in planters.
The Gazebo is initiated at The Barn at Stratford
On June 25 2016, Mr. and Mrs. Mathers took a few private moments before their wedding reception to become the first couple to grace the new Gazebo at The Barn at Stratford.
Thanks to the vision and efforts of Connie, Mike, and Scott Hoffman, and their friends, The Barn at Stratford has a wonderful new addition and a beautiful gazebo was saved for us to enjoy for many years to come.
The Gazebo can use your help
It needs a concrete footing and pad constructed that will give the gazebo a secure, level, permanent foundation. You can help! Donations are being sought to that specific purpose by the Delaware County Historical Society click here to support the Gazebo.