Bonine House being restored

The mansard roof of the Bonine House tower is being restored to its former Second Empire glory. The contractor is Dale Layman of Layman Construction, known by many as the manager of Pokagon’s Old Rugged Cross Church reconstruction. Terms of the grant from the Michigan Architectural Foundation (matched by URSCC) require that the project be completed by September 1, 2012 and work is on schedule.

Dale discovered while pulling off the old ‘fish scale’ shingles, that the original color was not a faded natural grey, but a deep, vibrant green, which will guide him in the restoration.

A generous donation by Mary Anne Bonine in memory of her husband Alan Bonine, will allow URSCC to re-roof the entire Bonine House this summer. URSCC and Friends of the Bonine House are very grateful.

Fundraising has begun for masonry repair and replacement of the front and side porches, with a goal of $50,000. Work on the gardens is in the planning stages, with excavation of tree stumps and other debris nearly completed. Restoration of the inside of the Bonine House, located at Penn Road and M-60 in Vandalia, will begin in earnest after the roof is finished.

More information on the restoration, the Bonine House and the Underground Railroad Society in Cass County can be found on

Donations can be made online, or sent to URSCC P.O. Box 124, Vandalia, MI 49095.

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