In June of 2018, the Florida Historical Society was approached by Mark Pennings, a boy scout from Troop 45 in Warwick, who was looking for a project for his Eagle Scout Award. The timing was perfect.
Following discussions with Mark for suggested projects at the Green Family Homestead, located at 13 Bridge St. in Florida, Mark decided he wanted to accept the challenge to renovate an abandoned staircase area. This former staircase had been used by the Green family children to go to and from their bedrooms.
The staircase and landing opening was covered by plywood and the walls and ceiling plaster were in deteriorated condition. The room would make a great Reading/Research room next to the Green Family Library, recently renovated by Natalie Miller, helping her earn her Girl Scout Gold Award. Natalie renovated the room and helped organize hundreds of historic books that had been used by the Green family for over four generations.
Mark began the process to gain approval from the Boy Scout District Council, which he received in July. He began workiing on the project at the end of September. Over the next two months, Mark organized scout volunteers who became junior members of the Historical Society and led his crew to restore and repair the area.
With Mark’s leadership, they repaired the plaster walls and ceiling and then painted the area. They added and repaired trim and installed an 1840s period-looking pine board floor that was stained and polyurethaned. Mark and his team then set up the shelves for books, cabinets for housing historic papers and artifacts, and a table for layout and research.
The project was completed at the end of November when Mark and Gary Randall, president of The Florida Historical Society, had a final walk through of the project.
Pictures taken during the restoration show the Boy Scout volunteers working and learning restoration skills. This process helped develop Mark’s leadership and project management skills, and fostered an appreciation for the value of our history and the importance of preserving it for all.
The Florida Historical Society and the community are grateful for the Boy and Girl Scouts from Florida and Warwick who have helped to restore the 1840 historic site in the Village of Florida.