The roof of the original Thurber Building was recently replaced, and as part of the project, rock had to be removed and returned to the roof.  GRETCHEN MENSINK LOVEJOY/CHATFIELD NEWS
The roof of the original Thurber Building was recently replaced, and as part of the project, rock had to be removed and returned to the roof. GRETCHEN MENSINK LOVEJOY/CHATFIELD NEWS
City Hall bit the bullet and let them rock on the roof with a giant vacuum cleaner.

"Like any other structure, the roof needs attention from time to time, and this is the time for the Thurber building to get its attention. When the city added on to the building 10 years ago, the original building did not have its roof replaced," said Chatfield City Clerk Joel Young, speaking of the recent re-roofing done on the original portion of the Thurber Building, Chatfield's city hall.

"This repair has been needed for several years, as relatively small leaks have occurred in various places throughout the building," Young continued. "Most of those were taken care of on a spot basis but, eventually, as with all situations, you just have to bite the bullet and get the job done. It was during late summer of 2012 that it was decided to re-roof the original building this year."

Built in 1930, the structure is currently home to Chatfield's city offices and its police and ambulance services and is also a meeting place for numerous civic organizations.

Young related, "The building is significant for a number of reasons. Although the Security Mutual Fire Insurance Company was started by Mr. Charles Thurber in Chatfield in 1898, it was in 1930 when they constructed this building as their home. Lewis and Herschel Thurber succeeded their father and operated the company for many years, employing many people in the area."

Young continued, "In 1973, through the efforts of Charles Thurber, a favorable sale of the building was made to the city of Chatfield to become the Chatfield Municipal Building and Thurber Community Center. In addition to hosting the city offices, there is space dedicated to senior citizens, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, the cemetery association, Chatfield Township, the Chatfield Historical Society and the Pease Museum. In 2002, an addition was constructed to house police and ambulance departments."

The re-roofing project, costing $52,473, was part of an effort to maintain the Thurber Building as a notable Chatfield institution.

"The work was done by Schwickerts and the rock they used is typical for the type of roof of this building," Young added. "They removed the rock that was on the old roof, added an insulating layer of expanded polystyrene, a rubber membrane and then put the rock back in place."

The project took approximately 10 days to complete and didn't cause too many interruptions at City Hall.

Young said the placement of the roll-off near the alley entrance was a bit inconvenient and the process of removing the rock was very loud for a few offices as they used a giant vacuum cleaner to remove the rock from the roof.

"This is very noisy and dusty," he said. "Other than that, you could hear noises as they worked on top of the building."

Young hopes the project will keep city staff warm and dry for the coming two decades.

"There is a 15-year warranty involved - hopefully, replacement will not be necessary for 20 years," Young said.

He noted the project is just one of several to maintain the historic building, concluding that upcoming items include the front steps, repairing interior walls and adding some welcoming features to the Second Street entrance.

"We plan on replacing the handrail on the front steps, re-painting the sign above the Second Street entrance and repair the walls in the Fillmore Conference room," Young concluded.

The city has also worked to make scheduled sidewalk repairs throughout town and prepare the streets for winter as the leaves of autumn turn red, orange and gold.