August 1, 2019 // 4:39 PM

In the Wood Shop: Building the Connell Mansion

Written by Juanita Fox

How do we build community? By serving in ways that enhance our connections and showcase our talents. Larry Knepper and Bill George, members of the Garden Spot Village Wood Shop, recently worked together to create a replica of the Connell Mansion, the home of the Historical Society of the Cocalico Valley in Ephrata, Pennsylvania.

In November 2018 the historical society reached out to Larry Knepper, who was serving as the president of the Wood Shop, to ask if anyone associated with the Garden Spot Village Wood Shop would want to build a replica of the Connell Mansion as well as the mansion’s outbuildings. They wanted a model to use for presentations at schools and other off-site events.

Larry took the request to the Wood Shop members and Bill George immediately volunteered. Bill works in the Wood Shop 30 hours a week, completing odd jobs, maintaining the machines, repairing furniture, cedar chests and more.

“I just like to keep busy,” he says. Bill is grateful for the opportunity to serve and for the community where he thrives and finds purpose.

“I love making models. When the historical society asked us to make a replica, I was happy to donate my time.”

Larry Knepper took photos and measurements of the Connell Mansion and outbuildings and shared them with Bill so that he could create the plans and build the model to scale. Bill spent more than 50 hours creating the replica. Gordon Lash, another member of the Wood Shop, used his CNC router to make shingles and shutters. When it was finished, the replica included more than 200 tiles to represent the museum’s slate roof as well as a cupola on the outhouse!

Through this project, the Garden Spot Village Wood Shop impacted the work of the Historical Society of the Cocalico Valley and Larry, Bill and Gordon found purpose in working together in community.