East wall of Calumet Inn addressed

Workers with Advanced Masonry Restoration repair the east wall of the Historic Calumet Inn Thursday, Sept. 3. Tammy Grubbs, owner of the Calumet, utilized the city’s Historic Property Improvement Program to help finance the $28,900 project. K. Kyle

Workers with Advanced Masonry Restoration have been repairing the east wall of the Calumet Inn recently.
Tammy Grubbs, owner of the Calumet Inn, said the work includes removing the stone blocks in problem areas, numbering them for placement, cleaning the old mortar off the blocks and surrounding area, and putting the blocks back in place with new mortar. She said two workers started working on the project on Monday, Aug. 31 and expected to be finished by Thursday, Sept. 10.
Grubbs said she planned to have the St. Paul-based company do the work last year, but they ran out of time and that they suggested putting up the scaffolding on the east side of the building, which was done last fall, as a precaution in case any stone blocks fell off the building. The company specializes in restoration and preservation of historic buildings.
“They go above and beyond to maintain the historical integrity of the building,” Grubbs said.
Grubbs utilized the city of Pipestone’s Historic Property Improvement Program to pay for the $28,900 project. Under that program, the city will provide a loan for $10,115 and a grant for $10,115, and Grubbs will cover the remaining $8,670. The city council approved Grubbs’ application to the program on Aug. 3.
The Calumet Inn has been closed since the city put up signs indicating it was condemned in March. Those signs were removed and the building was no longer condemned as of April 30. According to a May 1 press release from the city, the signs were removed because Grubbs had received the permits for work to “address the most pressing issues” with the building and had retained a structural engineer and licensed contractor.
The issues and deficiencies cited by the city included replacing the ceiling in the laundry room with code-compliant material, replacing the sheetrock that was removed in room 404, and replacing the ceilings in rooms 404 and 412 with code-compliant material. The city also required that Grubbs make arrangements for “an evaluation by a Minnesota-licensed engineer of the weight-bearing integrity of the building’s roof system as to snow-loads and dead-loads, particularly as to the large roof top unit (air conditioners) installed on the west side of the building.”
Grubbs said she has addressed all of the city’s concerns, but that she lost insurance on the building and licenses required to operate due to the impacts of the city condemning the building and is still working on doing everything required to reopen. At this time, she said, there is no timeline for when that will happen. In the meantime, she said repairs and improvements to the building are ongoing.
“My main priority has always been to preserve the Calumet and make it safe,” Grubbs said.