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Conservators Mary Aldrich has been working to reveal the original designs painted on the walls of the St. Paul Church that were painted over in the 1920s.   Photo by Andy Compton

The challenge at hand

Peggy Woodlief

For Randolph Hub


RANDLEMAN – Our next open house will be May 19 and will offer a special program about the restoration of the interior of St. Paul as it was originally painted by Jules Korner.


This restoration, however, is not just simply painting over the walls, but a matter of determining the original colors and designs on the walls.


During the 1920s, the interior was painted over using the rather drab brown color you now see on the walls. Apparently the decision to paint over the elaborate designs was to cover the darkening of the walls caused by the coal-fired furnace.


Fortunately, no one tried to scrub the walls in an attempt to clean them because this would have made most difficult the determination of the original designs and colors. All of this is to say that the amount of work that must be done before any painting can begin is very time consuming.


St. Paul is most fortunate in having conservator Andy Compton, who in 2015 restored the apse. He has most recently worked in Washington at the US Capitol Building and at George Washington’s Mount Vernon. We are very fortunate to have him as he is in great demand.


Working with Andy at St. Paul is Mary Aldrich, a conservator who has worked on many prestigious buildings throughout the United States, including the US Capitol, Joel Lane Museum (Raleigh) and the Ailey Young House (Wake Forest). Besides the conservation of paintings, objects and the decorative arts, Mary is an artist residing in Chapel Hill.


Andy will be discussing the challenges presented by the architectural decorative painting of St. Paul and how it compares to other projects, particularly the US Capitol and Mount Vernon. 


For quite a few years, St. Paul has been on the National Register of Historic Buildings, and the interior paint designs, difficult as they are to see, is a major reason the building was so honored.  Just think: Randleman has a church Building like no other anywhere.


Please join us Sunday at the Corner of Stout and High Point Streets at 2 p.m. for a most interesting and informative and entertaining meeting. And, yes, all of your questions will be answered.