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A.T. Smith house gets a new roof

It's taking a bit longer than expected, but the historic Alvin T. Smith house south of Forest Grove is getting a new roof.

Tom Carlson, co-chair of the Committee to Preserve the A. T. Smith Property said that when the contractor, B and L Construction, ripped off the old metal roof, they found that damage to the underlying structure was more extensive then they thought.

Like all repairs made to the 153-year-old building, the materials for this job will need to match the original materials.

'It is more important to do it right than to do it quickly,' Carlson said.

He said the new roof, like the one A.T. Smith put on the house, will be made of long cedar shakes. The matching exterior moldings, he said, were custom-milled by Bart Brown of Gaston.

The project, which is being funded by grants from the City of Forest Grove and the State Historic Preservation Office, will eventually include a lower roof as well.

The Friends of Historic Forest Grove purchased the A.T. Smith house and the 1.8 acres on which it sits two years ago, after an ambitious fund-raising effort.

The house has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1971 and is located at the end of Elm Street, south of Highway 47.

The group hopes to turn the graceful Greek Revival house into a museum and agricultural interpretive center.

Alvin Smith came to Oregon as a missionary but was also an accomplished carpenter. History buffs say few houses from Oregon's pre-statehood era are still standing.