BY SARAH R. GREGORY
The historic Dickson-Williams Mansion will soon have a somewhat new look following action by the Greeneville Historic Zoning Commission Tuesday.
Commissioners voted unanimously to issue a Certificate of Appropriateness to the Dickson-Williams Historical Association to replace the 20-year-old cedar shake shingle roof of the mansion with a standing-seam metal roof.
Beverly Williams, representing the Dickson-Williams Historical Association, told the board that the current roof is leaking badly.
Williams provided a sample of metal roof panel that showed the color selected for the new roof -- antique bronze.
Historic Zoning Commission Chairman Sarah Webster, who also serves as president of the Dickson-Williams Historical Association, said the group had conducted quite a bit of research prior to selecting the type of roof that should be fitted on the historic home.
Webster said the group met with the chairman of Jonesborough's historic district to discuss the project.
"They are allowing roofs of this type in Jonesborough," Webster said.
"More than likely, the roof was probably a shake-shingle roof to start with," she said, "but the era that we are trying to re-do is 1860 to 1870."
Even if the home did have a shake-shingle roof when it was originally constructed, Webster said, "it would have had to have been replaced by 1850."
What that replacement roof was, however, has been up for debate, Webster added.
"From day one we've been in debate about whether it had a metal roof," she said.
The existing cedar-shake shingles, Webster added, have performed better than expected, but have in recent years "developed a very bad leak."
"We have to redo the roof," she said.
Webster said the Dickson-Williams Historical Association hopes to redo the roof on the main building now, and replace the roof on the kitchen wing in the future, perhaps next year.
Lower roofs, such as those over an entry way, are currently painted a red color and will be repainted to match the antique-bronze color of the new roof, Webster said.
Commissioner Roger Hankins said he supported the project.
"This is a major change to the appearance of the structure, but I really agree that it should've been a metal roof from the beginning considering the time period we're restoring it to," Hankins said.
The board voted unanimously with very little discussion to approve the request and grant a Certificate of Appropriateness for the project.
Commissioners also voted unanimously to issue a Certificate of Appropriateness for roof replacement at 612 W. Main St., the home of Charles and Debbie Snapp, and tabled a request for a sign replacement at the offices of The Greeneville Sun, at 121 W. Summer St.
The Snapp request is to replace their home's current shingles with architectural shingles in a grey-green color that will "more closely resemble" original tin shingles on the home.
Debbie Snapp said that a number of other structures in the Historic District -- such as Greeneville Orthopaedic Clinic and the T. Elmer Cox Genealogical Library -- currently use the same type of shingle.
Webster commended the Snapps for conducting that research, noting that, in many cases, the board does not have enough details about proposed projects to make a determination for a Certificate of Appropriateness.
A request to replace the sign outside the offices of The Greeneville Sun was tabled by the commission because the commission had not received enough information about the proposal.
Commissioners reviewed a rendering of the proposed sign, which would utilize the existing brick frame.
However, the board was not informed about what material the sign company proposed to use.
Commissioner Melinda Hickerson suggested that a representative of the company attend a future meeting to inform the board about what material would be used and to answer any questions.