Simmons’ Stable – Entry Five

A multitude of injuries have pulled star athletes out of the game. Benched, people soon forget about the star that was once their hero. But some fans never falter, urging their hero to push on and return to the game. Following weeks and months of intensive rehabilitation, the athlete makes his return. Although he looks the same, he is now stronger, more agile. Like the injured hero described above, Simmons’ Stable, once the commanding star of the Saddlebred Horse industry, needed loyal devotees and loving therapy to bring it back to its former glory. The Simmons’ Stable Preservation Fund was such a loyal fan, championing through numerous challenges and naysayers to save the Simmons’ Stable and give it new life.

After careful examination of the project and work to ensue, it became clear that restoring the 252 foot stable to its former glory would be a multi-phased process, focusing on each injury the stable incurred over time. The complete preservation and restoration process required that early on, we gather the teams involved and prioritize the process of rehabilitation. Most critical to the health of the stable was the stabilization and protection of the structure, as previously detailed by John Miller. In this entry, I’ll detail the processes of protecting the revitalized structure, while preserving its historic integrity.

The first item to be restored was the roofing. Layer-after-layer of asphalt roofing shingles were stripped from the tired structure. A new shingled roof, matching that from the beginning of Arthur Simmons’ reign over the horse world, soon protected that restored structure from the rain and snow which ravaged the wounded structure throughout the years. Once the roof and structure were reconditioned, the remainder of the building’s exterior was to be restored.

Although budget constraints dictated that the stall windows be restored at a later date, custom-fabricated dormer windows were installed to replace the originals which had been damaged beyond repair, twisted apart by the failed structure and years of harsh weathering. At the south gable end of the structure, the unique combination of shingles and shakes were restored, resulting in assorted rows of square, diamond and fish-scale shingles. At the east and west facades, plywood that was first installed in the 1970s was removed and replaced with horizontal siding. The new horizontal siding and watertable replicated what was captured in photographs from the 1960s and earlier. Vertical siding, twisted and bent by time, was carefully removed and salvaged to allow correction of the structure. After the structure was realigned, the once warped siding was reinstalled and repainted. The stable soon began to look like its former self, the star of the Saddlebred Horse industry.

As Mexico and its residents began to take notice of the new construction; the began to pay attention to the once forgotten derelict stable. Curious residents would wander up to the stable, asking questions or merely staring in wonder as the stable transformed before them. Throughout our many visits to the stable, John and I met several such characters, kind strangers who offered prayers, cool beverages on hot summer days, or a bucket so we could rest our legs after a long day.

Nearly complete with the initial phase of restoration and with the addition of a few simple block letters painted in black, the stable embodied a minor renaissance. From Boulevard Street, passers-by could now clearly read the words: SIMMONS’S STABLE, a victory for the town and those who had worked so hard to save a forgotten star of the horse world, an era passed and a world apart.