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$1 Million Restoration of Lincoln Home Delayed

November 19, 1986

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) _ The planned $1 million restoration of the only home Abraham Lincoln ever owned has been delayed because the contractor cannot acquire enough bonding, an official said Tuesday.

The Lincoln home was to have been closed in early November for refurbishing, but acting site manager Richard Lusardi of the National Park Service said it will stay open until the matter of bonding is resolved, perhaps later this week or next.

The contractor, River City Restoration Inc. of Hannibal, Mo., can get a $750,000 bond from a bonding company, but $1 million is required, Lusardi said.

A bond is similar to an insurance policy, said company manager Scott Meyer. If a contractor fails to finish a project or to pay subcontractors, the bond company will cover the debts, he said.

The 147-year-old Lincoln home is Springfield’s biggest tourist attraction, drawing nearly 500,000 people a year. But wear and tear on the two-story cream-colored frame house has created the need for extensive structural and cosmetic repairs.

The green-shuttered house was built in 1839, and Lincoln bought it in 1844 for $1,500. The Lincolns lived there until 1861, when the family left Illinois for the White House.

The house has been administered by the National Park Service since 1972, and its most recent renovation was in the 1950s.

The latest renovation project includes new plumbing, heating, wiring and security systems; foundation repair; restoration or preservation of period windows, wallpaper, furniture; exterior painting and repair; and landscaping and other work.

Meyer said bonding companies have been concerned that his 17-employee operation may be too small to undertake the year-long restoration of the house.

″There is no problem with our ability to do it,″ said Meyer.

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