The Weekly Newspaper serving the citizens of Morenci, Mich., Fayette, Ohio, and surrounding areas.

  • KayseInField
    IN THE FIELD—2004 Morenci graduate Kayse Onweller works in a test plot of wheat in Texas. She’s part of Bayer CropScience’s North American wheat breeding program based in Nebraska, where she completed post-graduate work in plant breeding and genetics.
  • Front.winner
    REFEREE Camden Miller raises the hand of Morenci Jr. Dawgs wrestler Ryder Ryan as his opponent leaves the mat in disappointment. Morenci’s youth wrestling program served as host for a tournament Saturday morning to raise money for the club. Additional photos are on the back page.
  • Front.bank.2
    SHERWOOD STATE Bank opened its Fayette office at a grand opening Friday morning, drawing a large crowd to view the renovated building. Above, Burt Blue talks to teller Cindy Funk, while his wife, Jackie, looks around the new office. The Blues missed the opening and took a quick tour on Tuesday. Few traces remain of the former grocery store and theater, however, part of the original brick wall still shows in the hallway leading to the back of the building. The drive-through window should be ready for customers later in the month.
  • Front.carry.casket
    CARRYING—Riley Terry (blue jacket) and Mason Vaughn lead the way, carrying an empty casket outside to the hearse waiting at the curb. Morenci juniors and seniors visited Eagle Funeral Home last week to learn about the role of a funeral director and to understand the process of arranging for a funeral.
  • Front.lift
    MORENCI student Dalton McCowan puts everything into a dead lift attempt Saturday morning during the Wyseguy Push/Pull event. Lifters helped raise more than $1,600 for the family of the late Devin Wyse, a former Morenci power-lifter who graduated last year. Commemorative T-shirts are still available by contacting teacher Dan Hoffman.
  • Front.make.three
    FROM THE LEFT, Landon Wilkins, Ryan White and Logan Blaker try out their artistic skills Saturday afternoon at the Morenci PTO’s first Date to Create event. More than 50 people showed up to create decorated planks of wood to hang from rope. The event served as a fund-raiser for miscellaneous PTO projects. Additional photos are on the back of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.F.office
    NEW OFFICES—Fayette village administrator Steve Blue speaks with tax administrator Genna Biddix at the new front desk of the village office. Village council members voted to use budgeted renovation funds targeted for the old office and instead buy the vacant bank building on the corner of Main and Fayette streets. The old office was sold to Sherwood State Bank. When everything is put into place in the spacious new village office, an open house will be scheduled. Council member David Wheeler donated all of his time needed to make changes in the bank interior to fit the Village’s needs.

Remarkable Rehab: Rupp/Wilson house refurbished

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

Grasp the handle inside the front door. That’s enough right there to let you know this is no ordinary apartment house.

It probably doesn’t take close-up views of the architectural details. Just stand back on the sidewalk and take it all in.

The old Rupp House on Main Street was far from tip-top shape when Randy Roberts of Adrian decided to buy the property and fix it up.rupphouse

He made another decision that isn’t commonly seen in rehab projects: He wanted the stately house to appear as much as possible as it did 70 years ago.

“We tried to maintain the historical nature,” Randy said, “but we also tried to maintain functionality for today’s living.”

When Lorene (Rupp) Whitehouse was growing up in that house in the 1930s, she probably wouldn’t have complained for a second about the modern kitchen appliances now installed.

She’s both pleased and relieved that the rehabilitation is preserving a large part of the home’s original details.

Randy’s business, Washovia Fire Restoration Services, tackles a major renovation project each year and the Rupp house provided an ample challenge.

The front steps were in such poor repair that mail delivery people refused to climb them. Randy’s crew duplicated the original look of the steps and porch, including refinishing the decorative half-circle grates at the bottom of the porch.

Walls were insulated and the exterior painted the same yellow as it was in the 1930s.

A laundry room had been fashioned on the back porch, but that’s now reopened as it used to be.

A new stairway entrance to the upper apartments was built along the west exterior. After the wood ages a year, the decorative spindles will be painted.rupphousedine

Behind the double doors on the front porch is the main floor two-bedroom apartment, complete with newly sanded hardwood floors, the original built-in bookcases and detailed woodwork, plus a fireplace with large mantel. Some of the original pocket doors remain.

Upstairs, apartment #2 is the smallest, but it’s not small. Like each apartment in the house, there are windows everywhere.

Apartment #3 is in the front of the house, with a hallway down the middle. On the right is a large kitchen; on the left a living area, and in the middle, a door leading to the porch roof with a small area to stand in the sun and get some fresh air.

Another stairway leads to apartment #4 on the third floor. It’s a large open area with three huge closets under the slope of the room and a dormer window to the east.

From all four sides of the upper story, commanding views of the city are offered.

Although the house served as a private home when Lorene’s family owned it, even then some rooms were rented.

In the 1930s, she said, U.S. 20 was closed for rebuilding and traffic was routed through Morenci. Her mother and two other ladies decided to open their houses as “tourist homes.” They each placed a sign in the front yard and the Rupp house was known as Sterling Palace.

Later, teachers and traveling salesmen rented rooms.

“This house had a lot of character,” Randy said, and he wants area residents to satisfy their curiosity and come take a look inside.

An open house is planned from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday before any tenants move in.

    -April 25, 2007 

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