Local Questers Chapter, Agua Caliente, and the State Questers of California funded the restoration

ATASCADERO — On Friday, Oct. 7, at 1 p.m., the historic Printery building got a facelift. After multiple years of vandalism and lots of restoration, the original doors and transom windows are back on the Printery. Local Questers Chapter, Agua Caliente, and the State Questers of California funded the restoration project.

“They’re the original doors. They’re copper clad. So we had them taken out and the copper refinished. There were things like bullet holes that had to be repaired,” said The Printery Foundation’s President Karen McNamara. 

Questers is a nonprofit organization that supports the preservation and restoration of historical buildings and artifacts.

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“In very early 2020, we were looking for a project, and with Questers, they’re very specific. You know, we can’t go in and put a new roof on something we have to repair an original roof, that sort of thing. And so we had looked at some projects that weren’t working out, and so we came and took a tour [of the Printery], and we were hooked,” said the Preservation and Restoration Chairman for the California Questers Sheila New. “So we took it [the Printery] back to our group, our group said, ‘yeah, we’ll support that,’ and then we just happened to be going to Pasadena for a State Meeting. So we scrambled and got a bunch of information together because they had been looking for a state project. Something that wasn’t state-owned with all the red tape, but this [Atascadro Printery Foundation] is a nonprofit.”

Now that the Printery is the Questers’ state project, it allows them to apply for matching grants within California. New stated that even though Questers is a nonprofit, they pride themselves on the smaller projects they can accomplish, like restoring the Printery’s front doors.

“This was our first big project here, so we’re very excited,” added New, who is also on the Printery Board.

In the future, Agua Caliente and the State Questers plan on restoring the chandelier from the entryway, the marble floors, and the murals that used to hang inside the Printery.

“It’s just little things here and there, but we’re hoping the more little projects we do, people will see things happening, and that will get more of the community involved in this [restoration],” New continued.

Craftsman Quill Chase was in charge of the restoration of the doors and transom windows, a project he found out about when he was between jobs from a contractor friend who was too busy to take the job himself. The doors and transoms were removed from the Printery almost a year ago and moved to Chase’s workshop west of Paso Robles.

“I came and looked at it and got interested in the whole project, and it seemed like taking on the door was a simple, kind of straightforward project. It wasn’t so simple ultimately, but it was one thing, so that was fun to do,” added Chase, who was there for the installation.

Chase commented that the mixed materials made the job interesting since the door is wooden but clad in copper. As an artisan who mainly works with wood and dabbles with metal, he found the project to be a fun challenge. He also had a moment where he was trying to find a router cutter to make new stops to hold the glass in the doors and windows. When he couldn’t find one that fit the historical moldings, Chase made one of his own to keep the project’s historical integrity.

“It was exciting to do, and I think they’re really handsome doors. It feels — I feel touched to be part of this historical building now,” added Chase.

After installation, the doors were quickly covered with half-inch thick LEXAN to keep them from being vandalized. 

To find out more about the Printery and the Atascadero Printer Foundation, go to atascaderoprintery.org/