Lallemand’s love of history leaves mark on forts

Altoona native making a name in restorations

Andy Lallemand, 40, recently completed work on the stockade at Fort Roberdeau in Tyrone Township. His work there led to him being hired for a project at Fort Loudon near Chambers­burg. Courtesy photo

Andy Lallemand loves history.

The owner and operator of Lallemand Construction LLC, and The Pa. Wood Butcher, found the perfect work to fit his passion.

Lallemand, 40, a 1998 graduate of Altoona Area High School, recently completed work at two historic Pennsylvania forts.

Locally, Lallemand completed work on the stockade at Fort Roberdeau in Tyrone Township. The stockade had been reconstructed as a bicentennial project in 1975-76.

“The old logs were rotting and needed replaced. He restored many of the logs in the fort,” said Fort Roberdeau Executive Director Glenn Nelson. “Andy took the time — he figured out exactly what we needed. He was great at communication. We knew when he would be there to work. We felt that the fort was his priority project. He was always focused on the fort. He didn’t need any extensions.”

Andy Lallemand (left) and Fort Roberdeau Executive Director Glenn Nelson stand at the fort’s stockade that Lallemand helped to restore. “The old logs were rotting and needed replaced. He restored many of the logs in the fort,” Nelson said. “Andy took the time — he figured out exactly what we needed.” Mirror photo by Walt Frank

“I came in and tore down the existing walls, cleaned up and prepped new logs,” Lallemand said. “I debarked logs and cut the dove tails to interlock the corners with dove tail construction. We put log to log and connected them to look right. We put in new logs to make it look more authentic.”

Nelson was pleased with Lallemand’s work.

“Andy understands the clause that says cleanup is a part of the job. He is a step above in cleaning up and restoring your site. Our maintenance men sang Andy’s praises,” Nelson said.

More recently in 2018, Lallemand took on a job at historic Fort Loudon near Chambersburg. He got that job based on his reputation.

“Our stockade had been rebuilt in 1993, but it was in bad condition and was falling down. The fort procured a tourism grant to rebuild the stockade. We put it out for bid,” said Andy Newman, president of Fort Loudon Historical Society. “One of the bidders was Andy Lallemand. A couple members of our society knew of him from his work at Fort Roberdeau, because of that and his willingness to do it, he was selected.”

Newman was pleased with Lallemand’s work.

“His role was de-construction and construction, tear down the old one and build a new one. It took him about two months. He worked very fast. He came back in the spring and did the cleanup,” Newman said. “He was very good. We didn’t have any problems with him.”

Lallemand said he felt honored to work at the historic forts.

“For me, loving history and being able to have my name on this work and put my hand on it and be able to help restore it is an honor. To know that future generations can come here and learn about the history is humbling,” Lallemand said.

Growing up in Altoona, Lallemand knew from a young age he wanted to work in construction. While in high school, he studied plumbing and then HVAC at the now Greater Altoona Career and Technology Center. He then studied welding at Florence Darlington Technical College in South Carolina.

“I liked to work with my hands. I started in construction while in high school, and it took off from there,” Lallemand said. “My first job was with John Weston Construction. I worked for him for a couple of years.”

He also served six years in the Army National Guard and worked as farm manager for Bert and Mary Altmanshofer’s Alpacas of the Alleghenies near Duncansville for several years.

In 2017, he decided it was time to start his own business.

“I needed a sawmill to do what I am doing,” Lallemand said. “I bought a portable sawmill — a ‘Wood Miser’ from Marty Parsons in Shade Gap. It is a portable sawmill that I can move from job to job.”

That purchase helped him to secure the fort projects. He also does residential construction and work for private loggers. Most of his work is done within a 50-mile radius of Altoona.

Lallemand prides himself on his work ethic.

“When people want a job done, I do the job, do the cleanup and go. I do a quality job, and I show up on time. It doesn’t take much to please people. Doing a little extra goes a long way to make people happy,” Lallemand said. “I get a lot of my business by word of mouth.”

Lallemand hopes to grow his business in the future.

“I want to keep it going. I am on a path to do that — one job leads to another. I would love to have the chance to do more forts even if not in this area. Down the road, if it grows to what I want it to be, it would be nice to hire some people,” Lallemand said.

Mirror Staff Writer Walt Frank is at 946-7467.

The Lallemand file

Name: Andy Lallemand

Age: 40

Education: 1998 graduate of Altoona Area High School, holds certificate in welding from Florence Darlington Technical College

Position: Owner/operator of Lallemand Construction LLC and The Pa. Wood Butcher.

Family: Parents, Albert and Barbara Lallemand; brothers, Travis and Nicholas

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