Federal Historic Preservation Grant


Oliver Springs Motor Company (Abston Garage)

The Oliver Springs Historical Society is requesting funding from the Tennessee Historical Commission in 2018 to complete a campaign of renovations on the building's brick masonry exterior, to include masonry repair and repointing of missing or deteriorating mortar. Historically appropriate masonry repair will compliment the OSHS's broad restoration project that has included major interior renovations, portico repair on the facade, and historic window repair. OSHS has demonstrated a strong commitment to the preservation of the Abston Garage building and to the promotion of Oliver Springs' history, and a public preservation project support by THC would stimulate even broader interest from the surrounding community.

Since their purchase of the Abston Garage in 2008, the Oliver Springs Historical Society has initiated an extensive campaign of renovation and improvements to the building, so that it may serve as a multi-purpose community center and theater for the Oliver Springs and Roane County community. Since 2008, OSHS has completed a full campaign of interior renovations, funded almost entirely by grassroots fundraisers and small-scale donations.

OSHS proposes to continue work on the Garage with a phase of repointing and cleaning of the brick masonry exterior, focusing on a total of 5,000 square feet on the northeast and southwest elevations. In several areas,including multiple crucial arches above windows, missing mortar threatens the building's overall structure. Other areas feature incompatible Portland cement mortar that is contributing to deterioration of the surrounding brick.A quarter of the exterior brick has already been repointed, with careful attention to matching the new mortar to the extant historic mortar. Restoring the final 75% of the exterior will include removing decaying mortar and previous patches that used inappropriate mortars, and then the installation of new tuck pointing. The color,material, and style of the mortars will be as accurate to the original as possible, complying with guidance found in Preservation Brief 2: Repointing Mortar Joints in Historic Masonry Buildings

The attached photographs illustrate the current state of the building and areas of masonry in need of repair. Mike Heinz, a brick and stone masonry professional located in nearby Wartburg, provided the contractor's estimate for the grant application. OSHS will utilize this estimate for the grant application, but would certainly employ another masonry professional recommended by THC, should the grant be awarded and staff prefer another contractor. OSHS is committed to maintaining the historic integrity of the Abston Garage's exterior, and will complete all work in accordance with the Secretary of the Interior's Standards.


South Elevation

Built in approximately 1915 and listed on the National Register in 2009, the Abston Garage has served as a garage, bowling alley, movie theater, cafe, and church. The OSHS intends to continue the property's multi-purpose use, as a home for its archives, a local history museum, meeting rooms and facilities for events, and a 150-seat theater. Because the nearby high school lacks a theater space, the OSHS intends this space to fill a key gap in the community's cultural resources. This project is well on its way: the upstairs of the Garage has been fully renovated to be suitable for archival storage; a sloped, poured concrete floor and stage are in place in the rear theater section, and the main interior renovations are complete. The OSHS has completed the vast majority of this work solely through volunteer labor and small-scale fundraisers, including bake sales, spaghetti suppers,and community fundraising drives. They have documented over one thousand volunteer hours on the property,from community members, OSHS members, area students and church groups, and Morgan County jail inmates.This extended commitment, on behalf of both OSHS and the community of Oliver Springs, illustrates their ability and drive to care for the Abston Garage building into perpetuity.


West Elevation

The OSHS is strongly committed to maintaining the property, and prior exterior renovations have been completed with full attention to the Secretary of the Interior's Standards. While the multi-light, wood frame window on the facade elevation was so deteriorated it needed to be replaced, the OSHS utilized as many of the historic glass panes as possible and recreated the original window with a new wood frame. They also re-built the front portico based on historic photographs and drawings of the garage's original facade. These projects have been based on a broad restoration plan for the building, and the repointing and repair of the garage's exterior brick is an integral part of this plan. The THC grant to support masonry repair of the Abston Garage will allow the building to avoid further deterioration of the historic exterior brick, and ultimately ensure its structural stability for the years to come. The Oliver Springs Historical Society will gladly agree to a preservation agreement or covenant to support the building's integrity into the future.

Help Our Cause

The Project Cost is $16,000 and is a 60% / 40% match. If we are approved for the 60% $9600 then the OSHS must provide the 40% matching $6400.


Oliver Springs Historical Society is committed and prepared to provide the 40% match through fundraising for the repointing project, should the grant be awarded. The Historical Society regularly holds successful fundraisers and maintains a foundation of funding to continue their ongoing renovation efforts.

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