Crews clean up historic White Hall after severe storm

Posted at 5:34 PM, Jan 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-13 17:50:29-05

RICHMOND, Ky. (LEX 18) — Workers are in clean up mode after a severe storm uprooted trees and tore a hole in the roof of the historic White Hall mansion Saturday afternoon.

Crews worked all day Monday to clear debris from fallen trees and the roof. They were also concentrated on making sure the building itself was safe.

"Right now our primary focus is on rendering the structure safe, keeping future weather conditions from impacting the inside of the structure and the structure itself, as well as rendering the outside of the structure safe," EKU executive director of public safety and risk management, Dr. Bryan Makinen, said.

Next, they will focus on the historical repair efforts.

"We look forward to getting the structure back up in its condition and getting it up and running so that it can be used for different events," Makinen said.

The building, which is owned by Eastern Kentucky University, is looked after by a caretaker, who lives on the property.

He alerted EKU emergency staff immediately after he heard trees falling in the storm, so crews were able to get there quickly to attend to the damage.

"We're very thankful for him," EKU assistant vice president for outreach and engagement, Jill Price, said. "Being able to literally know immediately after the trees hit the ground we know that we had damage and that we needed to get people out here very quickly."

After establishing that no one was inside during the storm, crews worked fast to save the antiques inside the centuries-old home.

Those included everything from documents to paintings and furniture. Some of the artifacts are original to the home, which was built in 1798 by General Green Clay.

EKU is waiting for an insurance quote to learn how much the damage will cost to repair. Price said she hopes it will back back up and running by May when it usually opens to the public.