Restoring rectory a labor of love for the Burns familyKim and Jim Burns learned what the former St. Patrick rectory means to members of the parish last August. The brick had fallen off the front of the old priests’ home at 321 St. Croix St. and workmen had demolished the addition at the back of the house.
By: Randy Hanson, Hudson Star-Observer
Kim and Jim Burns learned what the former St. Patrick rectory means to members of the parish last August.
The brick had fallen off the front of the old priests’ home at 321 St. Croix St. and workmen had demolished the addition at the back of the house.
It looked like the Burnses were starting to tear down the rectory – and people didn’t like it.
“Let people know we are saving it,” was Kim Burns’ request when a reporter talked to her last week about the challenging renovation project under way at the house.
“People have been watching it. People are really happy, I think, that we are making as much progress as we are,” she added.
Restoring the rectory to its former grandeur is a labor of love for the Burnes, who have become very active in the St. Patrick parish since moving to the area six years ago.
Their three children – 8-year-old twins Hannah and Henry and 4-year-old Quincy – attend St. Patrick School, half a block away from the former rectory. Kim is president of the school’s parent-teacher association and the leader of a Brownie troop that meets there.
When the parish put the rectory up for sale two-and-a-half years ago, the Burnses purchased it with the plan of making it their home.
Part of the attraction was the opportunity to preserve what has long been a special place to the parish. The Italianate-style residence for priests was built in 1875.
“We have always loved homes with character,” Kim added.
The home also was enticing to the Burnses because it was in the city and next to the school.
Because they now reside just outside of the Hudson School District, they’ve had to operate their own bus service, taking their children to and from school.
“We said, why don’t we simplify our lives and move into town?” Jim related.
“Jim and I both grew up in the city, where you knew every alley and crack in the sidewalk,” Kim added. “So it’s great to be in downtown Hudson. It’s great for the kids to be able to experience living in the city.”
Kim, a pharmaceutical company negotiator, grew up in Eau Claire. Jim, who works in the medical industry, is a native of La Crosse.
The renovation project that started last spring has proven to be more of trial than the Burnses anticipated.
The first thing they had to do was raise the house to replace rotted beams and put it on a firm foundation. They also had to replace the roof and dismantle and rebuild the addition at the back of the house.
The interior was gutted and is in the process of being rebuilt by VanderVorst Construction of River Falls.
The families of St. Patrick Parish were invited to take all unneeded items from the rectory — including windows, flooring and light fixtures — before the work began last spring.
Hudson Star-Observer publisher emeritus Willis Miller, who died Sunday, provided Kim Burns with a copy of an early photograph of the rectory that inspired her to rebuild the large front porch it originally had.
“We want to stay true to the Italianate architecture,” she said. “We did a lot of research.”
Tony Bauer drew up the plans for the renovation.
When completed, the home will have five bedrooms, a formal dining room, a living room, a family room, a well-lighted, spacious kitchen, several bathrooms, fireplaces, a big upstairs office, front and back staircases, and a roomy three-vehicle garage.
Kim Burns would like to move into the home before Christmas.
Dave VanderVorst of VanderVorst Construction said he’s trying to meet that schedule.
It’s a work in progress.