Free Congregation of Sauk County


Park Hall Historic Restoration

2020 - 2022


Here is the hall prior to restoration with the 110 yr old wallboard.

September 2020

We worked from the June '20 "Investigation of Historic Finishes" report from the Conrad Schmitt Studios of New Berlin, WI. We used this report to chose the restoration paint scheme.

Our first step was a meeting with Architect Peter Rött and Artisan Plaster LLC of Madison.

John Lichtenheld project manager met with Theresa Beckman, principal, and her partner, Conrad Webster for preparation of a bid for replastering the walls.

  • September 18, 2020.

Walls, Plaster & Paint

Removal of the 110 year old wallboard was the next step in our project. As this progressed, we discovered some intriguing details on the original walls. 

Removal of the wall board revealed some areas of damaged plaster. Plaster work started 10.29.20

Some original scroll design greeted us. Photos by Michael Whaley.

Detail of scroll.

Our plasters called our attention to notches at the side of the window trim, on the east and west walls. These were miters for a picture hanging rail. John Lichtenheld and Steve Chiquoine skillfully restored these after the walls were painted. November 2, 2020

The biggest suprise was the hand painted mural over the hall entrance. This was skillfully restored by Conrad Schmitt Studios.

Photos by Michael Whaley, November 12, 2020

The origination of the wallboard had been lost to memory, until it was removed. High up on the east wall, reachable by extension ladder, was the signature of L. Pohlman with the date Jan 20, 1911.

Local historian John W. Hart reports that Louis W. Pohlman was born in 1858 and was the brother in law of Alfred Clas, Park Hall's architect. Louis was also an architect and builder. He likely participated in the original construction of Park Hall, 27 years before autographing the wall. This date, January 20, 1911, revealed that the features behind the wall board had been hidden for 110 years.


Artisan Plaster LLC, of Madison, WI, began repairing and stabilizing the plaster on all 4 walls, including the balcony. Theresa Beckman, principal, and Conrad Webster began work on October 29 and finished November 11, 2020.

Photos by Fritz Parks

Once the plaster was prepared, the walls were painted by Hart Painting in Sauk City. The paint crew worked from December 11 to December 14, 2020.

Photos by Fritz Parks, December 18, 2020

Cornice and Mural Reinstantiation

Before the restoration of the cornice arches and entrance mural, scaffold specific for this height was installed on March 20, 2021. Restorer/manager Jill and her assistant, Collin started March 24 This phase was finished April 15 and the scaffold was taken down April 22, 2021.

Cleaning in progress, above; cleaning completed, below.


Above, clean cornice, dirty celing. March 26, 2021. Below paint color matching. Photos by Fritz Parks

Above, November 11, 2020. Below, beautiful mural, sleeping for 110 years, now restored, April 16, 2021. Photos by Fritz Parks

Ceiling Phase

After several mobile scaffolds came and went, the ceiling work required a wall to wall working space. Prime Scaffold, Inc. of Bensenville, IL began the assembly on January 18 and finished January 20, 2022. Our programs switched to Zoom only during this work. The scaffold came down February 28, 2022.

Hidden above and out of sight, foreman Josh Blegen, of Conrad Schmitt and his team stabilized the plaster starting January 26, 2022. They applied the second and final plaster coat and began painting on February 11. Finally, the perimeter stenciling was applied to the ceiling, starting February 25, 2022.

April 15, 2021

Photos by Josh Blegen

A team from our Building & Grounds Committee took advantage of the scaffold to rewire and hang the ceiling lights. That team, led by Gil Williams included Wood Weller, Neil Meyer, Susie Tatone, and Dave Roberts.

February 26, 2022

Photos by Gil Williams

Floor Refinishing

March 3, 2022

Photo by John Lichtenheld

As soon as the scaffold was removed, Jay Arrow, of Arrow Floor Sanding, of DeForest, WI came in to work on the floor. Jay started March 3 and finished March 11, 2022. At this point, we resumed Sunday programs in Park Hall.

Wall Band and Stencil

Conrad Schmitt's last task was to apply the color band and stencil to the wall above the wainscot. This began April 4 and finished April 12, 2022.

April 8, 2022

Photos by John Lichtenheld

Window sash counterweights

Our hall windows now are openable after restringing the counterweights on their pulleys. This Building & Grounds work team was John Lichtenheld, Neil Meyer, and John Rigby.


Park Hall Walls Restoration