Roofers the Edison House for a metal roof on Wednesday, The Edison House is one of the the historical buildings that is part of the renovation project at Heritage Junction in Newhall, October 30, 2019. Dan Watson/The Signal

A renovation of history in the making

Santa Clarita City Councilwoman Laurene Weste is helping to give Santa Clarita history a much-needed facelift.

On Wednesday, work began on reshingling the roofs of the historic buildings at the Heritage Junction in Hart Park. Previously, the roofs had wooden shingles, which are being replaced with metal shingles custom-painted to closely resemble the original wood aesthetic.

It took about a year to find a company that could provide a sturdy enough material that could also match the aesthetic the Historical Society wanted, Weste said.

“The company gave us some samples and to check if it was durable — I threw it on the floor and stomped all over it,” Weste said with a laugh

Marcelo Cairo, a structural engineer and board member of the  Santa Clarita Valley Historical society, which is overseeing the restoration project, said the roofing is much more than an aesthetic choice and one of his first recommendations as an engineer involved in the restoration project.

“We needed to put a new roof on every one of the buildings, so that we can prevent further damage from the buildings from water,” Cairo said. “The existing roofing on all the houses is made of wooden shingles, which is also a fire hazard, so putting a metal roof makes it safer for these buildings. When you’re working on restoring historical buildings, you want to try to keep as close to the original construction as possible, but you have to balance that with making sure the buildings will exist for future generations.”

The Heritage Junction contains authentic buildings from Santa Clarita’s history that were built between the 1860s and the 1920s. Weste, who is also a Historical Society board member, began the restoration project in July 2018 with a $75,000 grant from the city, and envisions Heritage Junction as a revitalized public event space where citizens can host public performances, film screenings and weddings. One of the buildings, known as the Pardee House, is scheduled to become the first museum of Santa Clarita history. 

“Santa Clarita is very blessed because we still have a lot of our history and we’re still saving more, and the linkage to our past is a very special relationship with where we came from that allows us to know who we are, where we came from and how people used to live,” Weste said. “This is a lot of hard work and every day we find a new challenge we have to research, but to see it all come together is a dream come true.”

The high wind activity may delay construction efforts, but Weste said the roof installation should take between two to three weeks.

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