Volunteer Spotlight – Jim Osborn

Here at Cross Orchards Historic Site we have been very lucky to have in our volunteer corps a retired professional painter, Jim Osborn. In early May, Jim offered to paint both the gallery building (previously the Country Store) at Cross and the clubhouse of our partners, the Grand Valley Model Railroad Club, for free. With such a rare and priceless opportunity, we had to say YES! The GVMRRC quickly agreed to pay for their portion of the paint and supplies.

With all parties on board, Jim started prepping the buildings for their new paint. The old paint had to be scraped off or thoroughly cleaned, and any damaged siding had be repaired. Progress on the GVMRRC building advanced rapidly since the structure was built in 2000 and is in good condition.

However, on the gallery building it was soon discovered the siding on the south side was in very bad shape. The old cedar siding, dating from the 1950s, was coming apart in sections and had to be replaced. The siding is a tapered lapped design but is an odd size. Dustin Orth owner of Custom Wood Finishing in Montrose was contacted, and he offered to cut new custom siding out of poplar. He generously donated his time to the project. 

While waiting for the new siding to come from Montrose, the Rio Grande Chapter of the National Railroad Historical Society had seen Jim’s work and asked him to paint their Caboose #3 and Work Car #113. Jim’s response was: “I’ve never painted a train before, but okay.” The NRHS supplied the paint and the two cars got a fresh coat in short order.

Once the new siding arrived, Matt Darling, Manager of Cross Orchards, removed the old siding and inserted the new boards into place. Due to the aged condition of the gallery building a lot of prep work was needed beyond the siding. There were two areas where the soffit had been damaged from small leaks in the roof. Again, the damaged sections were removed and replaced with new material.

With the damaged boards replaced, Jim continued the paint prep work. Many tubes of painter’s caulk were used to fill gaps in the siding, fascia, and soffit. The gutters on the gallery building needed attention as well, as one section had rusted through and needed to be replaced.

When all the prep work was complete the windows and door were masked off and the painting proceeded quickly. Highly skilled and talented volunteers like Jim Osborn are what makes Cross Orchards possible. We owe these wonderful people a great debt and our endless admiration.