Peter Mott House in Lawnside seeks funds for repairs

The Peter Mott House in Lawnside, Camden County, is the oldest known building in the historic district. First built around 1844, this is where Mott, Sunday School Superintendent and AME Church minister, helped slaves escape to freedom.

More than a century and a half later, it now serves as a museum for the Underground Railroad. But it needs some repairs. For starters, its cedar shingle roof needed to be replaced. Linda Shockley, president of the Lawnside Historical Society, said work on the roof began Monday and was completed Wednesday.

“We are very lucky to have been able to raise enough money to get to the point where we can work on the roof,” she said. “We thought that was the most important thing to do right now.”

Beyond the roof, the siding of the house covered with clapboards must be replaced, as well as the window trim and the access hatch to the basement. In addition, the shutters and steps of the interior staircase must be restored. The house also needs to be painted.

Since the house is a federally registered historic site, repairs and restoration cannot be solved with a simple trip to the nearest hardware store.

“You have to meet the Home Secretary’s standards,” says Shockley. “For example, the window frame must be made of wood, the glass must be replaced. We have to re-varnish the windows with linseed oil putty.

The repair estimate is $101,011.