Renovation completed at Pioneer Pavilion


Mill Creek MetroParks’ Pioneer Pavilion, built in 1821, is undergoing a restoration project. Above, Mark Fisher, left, Mill Creek MetroParks engineer, and Steve Avery, chief landscape architect, look through stone portals on the newly restored exterior stone steps at Pioneer Pavilion.


Mill Creek MetroParks’ Pioneer Pavilion, built in 1821, is undergoing a restoration project. Below, work on the exterior stone staircase, a popular spot for wedding photographs, was recently completed.

By Denise Dick

The work is being done in phases to allow the pavilion’s continued use.

YOUNGSTOWN — One of the city’s oldest structures is getting a face-lift.

Work wrapped up about a week ago on restoration of the stone staircase outside Pioneer Pavilion in Mill Creek Park.

“It was about a $66,000 project,” said Steve Avery, the park’s chief landscape architect and the project’s manager.

Daniel A. Terreri & Sons Inc. of North Jackson was the contractor and worked under a tent for about two months to finish the work while protecting it from the elements.

But the staircase, a popular site for wedding photographs, is part of a multiyear revamp project started about three years ago. So far, work has totaled about $175,000 and included updating the building’s water system, replacing its septic system with a sanitary system, modernizing the kitchen and replacing the wood-burning fireplaces with gas.

Refurbishing the ballroom floor, updating the heating system for the second floor, completing the electrical upgrade and removing mortar over the exterior and replacing it with new mortar remain on the list of things to do.

“We hope to have it done within a few years,” Avery said.

The work is being done in phases to keep the building in use as well as to keep costs manageable, he said.

As part of the staircase project, the contractor took a molding of the outside cornice and created a replica in cement to replace the deteriorated stone.

Mark Fisher, park civil engineer, said a piece of the original cornice was saved, and the park plans to display it inside the pavilion.

Some re-enforcement of the staircase was done in the 1980s, but the latest work is a more extensive restoration, Avery said.

Work both inside and outside the building was completed with an eye on maintaining or restoring historical integrity while not sacrificing the functionality required for a building used for parties and events.

Pioneer Pavilion was built in 1821, before the 1891 founding of Mill Creek Park. It was originally constructed by James Heaton as a woolen mill and evolved into a blast furnace, then a cattle barn. In 1891, park founder Volney Rogers bought the pavilion for the park. In 1893 he renovated it into a dining and dancing facility, according to “Historic Mill Creek Park,” written by Carol Potter and Rick Shale, former park development/marketing director and commissioner, respectively. It is one of the oldest structures in the city.

During that renovation, the building’s third floor was removed to create the two-story ballroom, the book says.

The stone staircase was added in 1893. With restoration complete, the spot will again be available for wedding photos.

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