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Irvington Continues Reading Room Restoration

Irvington Village Hall is home to one of four surviving rooms designed by the famous designer and artist Louis C. Tiffany and it’s the only one open free of charge to the general public.

This year, the 350-square foot room is undergoing extensive restoration efforts. Although the project has been met with some challenges, officials said it should be substantially completed by the end of 2011.

According to committee co-chair Christopher Mitchell, the restoration efforts so far have included removing most of the plaster, replacing and securing original lathing, adding new electrical and data connections and adding a modern sprinkler facility. Exterior work on the Village Hall’s masonry near the room was also done so the restored interior would not be damaged by moisture penetrating the walls.

“In upcoming stages, the Tiffany mosaics will be cleaned and re-grouted where needed, the woodwork will be restored and the original windows put back into full working order,” he wrote in an email.

Two issues appeared once restoration efforts began. First, the original plaster work was in poor condition. According to Mitchell, extra effort had to be made to remove the old plaster and replace or restore the underlying lath which secures the plaster to the building structure. The lath had apparently not been anchored properly more than 100 years ago, Mitchell said.

The second issue was one of installing central air conditioning, which would be too costly and too challenging.

The restoration has an estimated cost of $240,000. Local residents and organizations have donated two-thirds of that. The remaining funds were provided by the village. Officials hope once the restoration project is complete the room will serve as both a reading and meeting room.

The Tiffany Reading Room was constructed in 1902 after the Irvington Mental and Moral Improvement Society, the predecessor of the Irvington Public Library, donated the land where Village Hall stands. Until 2000, it served as the reference department for the Library, which was located in Village Hall.

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