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Duke of Abruzzi Hall gets roof

Terri Castelaz/Daily New photo Jamie Stevens of Stine-O-Mite Home Services, LLC of Iron River removes shingles at the Duke of Abruzzi Hall in Caspian. The Friends of the Duke of Abruzzi have been raising funds to restore the building at 401 McGillis Ave.

CASPIAN — The Friends of Duke of Abruzzi has reached its first fundraising goal allowing them to repair the roof on the Italian Society Hall at 401 McGillis Ave. in Caspian.

Stine-O-Mite Home Services, LLC of Iron River began work last week.

Like a typical roof job, after removing the three layers of shingles, they discovered some other issues, said owner Tracey Stine.

Several of the rafters were rotted, leaving nothing to nail to. Along with replacing those rafters, some new sheeting was added.

“We had anticipated cost wise, but were hoping for the best,” said Friends member Bob Ketchum.

The Friends noted how appreciative they are to have Stine working with them and getting on the schedule this fall.

“I don’t think the roof would have made it another year,” said Stine. “I knew they were having serious water issues, and I know what it can do to hardwood floors, which would lead into more problems.”

Ketchum noted he spent rainy weekends mopping the floor and emptying buckets so they could continue with their sales.

“Signs say ‘rain or shine,'” he said.

The next project, planned in the spring, is to fix the foundation that has buckled under the north wall.

“We will start some of the work this fall by removing the cement slaps on the back side because the water is running off the roof to the slap and traveling against that wall,” said Ketchum. “That’s why that portion is important to complete this year.”

After the foundation is repaired, they will have a “sound” building.

The Friends’ ultimate goal is to completely restore the hall, originally built in 1914 as a fraternal lodge by the Duca Degli Abruzzi Italian Society, formed by Italian men living in Caspian. They also have plans to add a park and continue to upgrade the bocce courts.

Members feel very fortunate and confident on taking the next step.

The Friends will continue with their marketplace-type sales from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays through the end of October.

“It’s amazing the way the sale has taken off and the support we have got from the community,” said Ketchum.

Organizers still are taking donations for the sale but ask that no TVs or older electronic items be submitted. For more information, call 906-284-9733 or 402-312-2257.

Monetary donations can be made to: The Friends of the Duke of Abruzzi, P.O. Box 204 or P.O. Box 214, Caspian, MI 49915.

“Our goal is to give this back to the community for them to utilize,” said Ketchum. “It sounds like it’s a long way out there, but look how far we have come already.”

Ketchum also noted that they hope to interest local children to play bocce at the Windsor Center in Iron River this winter. If enough kids participate, they want to continue with a league for them at the Duke of Abruzzi courts.

Terri Castelaz can be reached at 906-774-2772 ext. 241 or tcastelaz@ironmountaindailynews.com.

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