Gary Price purchased the Willits’ property in 1994 after Harold Willits asked if he would be interested in buying the farm. Willits’ 160 acres adjoined Gary's farm and he had rented pasture from Mr Willits, so the relationship was already established.
Because of Gary's interest in antiques and stone buildings, he's wanted to restore the Old Stone Building. Mr. Willits gave him two metal stars that he saved to go on the outside of the stone building to help hold the walls together. Mr. Willits passed away several years ago at the age of 92. We are sorry he did not get to see the Old Stone Building restored.
About the restoration
Gary waited for the money to complete the project, but there never seemed to be enough. He decided to go ahead and start this project and do as much as possible so the building wouldn't continue to deteriorate. We're hopeful that many individuals interested in the preservation of historic structures will be interested in donating so this project will be completed.
Several years ago Gary visited Jerome, Arizona. There was an old museum there that had a non-operable gold mine, a saw mill, hundreds of old rusty implements, and a variety of small animals running around for children to pet. Gary's dream is to have a similar place where people – young and old – can see and experience the past. Ever since envisioning the project, Gary has been collecting blacksmith tools that could be displayed in the building. So far he has two forges (neither are a down draft forge of the type that was used in the Old Stone Building), a line shaft (out of an old blacksmith shop in Clinton, Kansas), a disk sharpener (from a blacksmith shop in Shelbyville, Illinois), and a power hammer (from Robert Brink, made in St. Louis in 1901). He also has several old farming implements, including a 1941 John Deere B styled tractor and a 1927, 125 hp, LeRoy 4 cylinder engine to run the saw mill.
Thank you for your interest in restoring the Old Stone Building. We hope that you too can believe in and support the renovation of this remarkable piece of history.