One of the roadsides treats for me when I come up the Thumb on Fridays after work is to go through the tiny village of Kilmanagh. The iconic Kilmanagh general store and vintage gas pump are always worth a slow roll to see what has changed. The owner of the 1870’s store has begun a painstaking restoration process that’s now in its second year. You can see the progress at the Kilmanagh Store Facebook Page.
Kilmanagh General Store Restoration
However, the time has taken its toll on the 1870 general store that sports one of the last 1800’s storefront facades that was common at that time. The Building and Zoning Department has deemed the porch unsafe and ordered it repaired or removed.
The owners Tom and Brenda Voss are taking steps to restore the property, but it’s expensive. It has to be rebuilt to meet current code requirements, starting with new foundations. The existing cement porch deck needs to be removed, and both upper and lower porch decks need to be rebuilt to current standards. The porch roof has pulled away from the wall and collapsed. The roof deck will need to be opened up, and raised back into position before the roof structure can be jacked back into place.
The ornamental roof sections on the parapet wall need to be reconstructed, and the main roof needs to be repaired where the wall has pulled away. We expect that repairs to sill plates and other water damage will be required.
Our goal for phase one is to stabilize the structure, and weatherproof the building. When that is completed, work to restore the Victorian detailing on the front, and start to repair siding and windows and paint the other areas of the building.
The Voss’s have kicked off a fundraising campaign to help with the costs of bringing the general store back to its former glory. Please consider a donation at their Go Fund Me site.
Thumbwind chipped in a $100. Your contribution, however small or large will mean a great deal to this little community and those who love history. Please share this post and donate.
Kilmanagh is a place stuck in lore and time. In the Spring of 1891, then this western Huron County village hosted a grist mill or two general stores, a blacksmith shop, and two or three saloons. Today only a couple relics of the village remains the aging general store, a 1940’s service station, and a closed liquor store. It is an interesting stop on your way to the coast of Saginaw Bay. If you stop treat it respectfully as it’s literally a museum exposed to the elements.
Kilmanagh – A Living Museum
Walk among its ruins. Snapshots and hopefully write a few words on your find. The general store is what takes your attention first. There is beauty in the decay.
It’s a little gold mine for still life artists. The best example of someone who really invested himself into this is John Nagridge who in several seasons painted Kilmanagh Fall, Winter, and Spring themes. You can visit John’s website to view more knife renderings of Kalmanagh’s general store.