“This is not going to close our doors by any way, shape or form,” Jahr said. “It will be a temporary close while we make the repairs that need to be made and make the environment safe for our visitors.”
Officials were still assessing the damage at the end of the week, and crews were using a forklift to remove large chunks of the brick chimney that were spread across the ceramic tile roof; as well as to tarp over where the chimney once stood to prevent additional damage from the elements.
The interior of the mansion also showed signs of the lightning strike, most notably as cracks have developed on walls on the second and third floor where the chimney goes into the house. Jahr said a specialist will come in to make sure the cracks in the wall are not the result of more serious problems, such as damage to the interior structure.
Crews were also cleaning the ground floor of chimney soot, which shot out of the fireplace and across the floor and nearby objects when the chimney was struck.
The air was so thick with soot on Sunday that Jahr said 911 was called to make sure the museum was not on fire. Luckily, she said the lightning strike not ignite a fire or cause water damage.
Jahr said an estimate was not available yet for how much it will cost to fix the chimney, roof and other damage that could be discovered. The museum has insurance, which Jahr said should cover some of the cost, but she also said donations would be “very welcome.”
with a digital subscription.
There is no timeline for repairs, but optimistically, Jahr said the museum could reopen by late summer. Updates will be provided on the museum's Facebook page, and the museum's website, staleymuseum.com, has a sign-up for a newsletter that will provide updates on the repairs as well.
Notably, Sunday was not the first incident in which lightning has taken out a chimney at the mansion.
On May 17, 1990, lightning struck one of the mansion’s six chimneys and shattered it, according to a Herald & Review article from that day. No injuries were reported at the time, during which the mansion was divided into 16 apartments.
The mansion was built in 1884, and passed through several hands before being purchased by A.E. Staley in 1913. The businessman and founder of the A. E. Staley company remodeled the home to an English Tudor style, and his family owned it until 1951.
The home went through several transformations before it was acquired in 2013 by the Staley Museum Foundation for the purpose of restoring it and making it the site of the Staley Museum.
The lightning strike represents a real hurdle, but Jahr said she and other museum officials will do everything they can to make sure the museum opens again.
“The Staley family, the museum board of directors and the museum staff are absolutely committed to this project,” Jahr said. “It is a hurdle we will take care of it, and we will open our doors and enthusiastically continue to preserve local history, Staley family history, Staley company history, and this home.”
Staley Main Foyer 2 4.12.18.jpg
Staley Main Foyer current 4.12.18.jpg
Staley Main Foyer current 6 4.12.18.jpg
Staley Main Foyer 4 4.12.18.jpg
Staley Main Foyer 3 4.12.18.jpg
AE Staley Sr portrait 4.12.18.jpg
Staley elevator door 1 4.12.18.jpg
Staley elevator door 2 4.12.18.jpg
AE Staley Sr office 2 4.12.18.jpg
AE Staley Sr office 3 4.12.18.jpg
AE Staley Sr office 4.12.18.jpg
Staley Board of Directors Room current 4.12.18.jpg
Staley Board of Directors Room current 2 4.12.18.jpg
Staley Board of Directors Room current 3 4.12.18.jpg
Eldorado and 22nd Street view 4.12.18.jpg
Staley Board of Directors Room current 4 4.12.18.jpg
Staley Building viaduct view 4.12.18.jpg
Staley Board of Directors Room current 5 4.12.18.jpg
Staley sitting room 4.12.18.jpg
AE Staley Jr Office current 4.12.18.jpg
Staley terrace garden 4.12.18.jpg
Staley eighth floor view 4.12.18.jpg
Staley Board of Directors Room current 6 4.12.18.jpg
Staley Cafeteria current 2 4.12.18.jpg
Staley Cafeteria current 4.12.18.jpg
Staley northeast view 4.12.18.jpg
Staley executive dining room 4.12.18.jpg
Staley executive lounge current 2 4.12.18.jpg
Staley executive lounge current 4.12.18.jpg
Tate and Lyle Building 4.12.18.jpg
Tate and Lyle Building 2 4.12.18.jpg
Staley Main Foyer 5 4.12.18.jpg
Subscribe to Daily Headlines
Contact Ryan Voyles at (217) 421-7985. Follow him on Twitter: @RVVoyles