COLUMBIANA, Ohio (WKBN) – The Stick Chapel in the Columbiana Cemetery is looking a lot different than it did a year ago. Last year, the Historical Society of Columbiana and Fairfield Township made a plan to restore the original chapel. Today, we had a chance to check out the historic building and see what progress has been made.

Over 130 years ago, the Stick Chapel was built in the middle of the cemetery to serve as a place for final service.

“In there, stood, said their prayers, probably sang their hymn if it was raining or snowing and then they were back out the door,” said Deborah Firestone Himes, president of the Historical Society.

In 2017, the city decided to restore the chapel’s crumbling roof. It sat for five years until the Historical Society established a committee to restore the entire structure.

“The community could help make it happen too. It kinda lit a little fire. It started as a tiny spark, an idea,” said Susan Drotleff, a trustee of the Historical Society.

The Historical Society aims to keep the 19th-century architectural style intact, a rare and unique style hard to find these days.

“Once you lose the history behind something, it’s gone forever,” Firestone Himes said.

Original windows and trim were fully restored and the exterior will be complete once the doors and drainage are installed.

“We cannot do a solid restoration. The outside is a complete restoration but the inside, we need to fudge a little bit,” Firestone Himes said.

That’s because a family of groundhogs destroyed the original floorboards. They need to be replaced along with putting in donated pews and an electrical system.

The city is handling the renovations but the Historical Society is raising the majority of the restoration funds through fundraisers.

“Take it down to the local level and you might have an interest getting involved yourself and as well being a part of a community that’s neat to be in,” Drotleff said.

To date, the Historical Society has raised over $80,000 for the project but needs more money to complete the inside renovations.

There is no exact date when the chapel will be completely restored and usable, but the Historical Society is hopeful for the near future.