Monday, March 31, 2008

Monday. 3/31/08

Jon painted the Farmers Bank shutters while Karl and Mike framed in the East, or door, side of the pumphouse. Jon and Karl finished the day working on the ceiling joists, while Mike trimmed out the door opening.

Conference 2008

On Friday, we held the first full blown meeting of the Planning Committee and Local Arrangements Committee for the 2008 Preservation Conference. The conference will be held this year in Richmond on October 6 and 7. This meeting was to further our efforts to determine theme and content as well as logistics and timing for the conference. This is now the 5th year that APVA Preservation Virginia has been responsible for producing the annual Virginia preservation conference. Among the topics discussed for sessions were many dealing with sustainability and 'green-ness' of historic buildings and making the case for preservation against heavy-handed remodeling or demolition. We looked at sessions from previous conferences as well as comments and suggestions received for topics that would be useful to have covered. Suggestions from this group would be welcome - Terry is heading up this effort so if you have ideas or suggestions, please share them with her.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Colonial Education Center at Lynnhaven House

Cathy and I visited Lynnhaven on Wednesday to remove loan items and switch a table in the Lynnhaven House prior to its transfer to the City of Virginia Beach. We had a chance to walk through the nearly completed Education Center. The big news is the completion of the landscaping for the parking lot. This was the last major component before receiving the Certificate of Occupancy which will trigger the actual transfer. There are still permits to be cleared but that process is underway. The City made a loan to the Southeastern Branch to allow this work to be competed and that loan is to be paid back as soon as we receive the appropriation awarded by last year's General Assembly.

Thursday, March 27, 2008


The restoration dept stood up the sidewalls and boxed in the west gable wall. Beautiful weather today. Tomorrow we will pick up roof material and nails. One of us will spray prime the shutters for Farmers bank and the Poe house, while the other two continue on the pumphouse. One item of interest is the manual for the old pump which sits over the old well inside the house. There was no date on the manual.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Pumphouse II

The pumphouse demo is complete. Karl repointed the foundation while Jon and Mike picked up lumber from Saunders Supply in Chuckatuck. Framing has started, but is not ready to install yet.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Farm Bureau Building

We signed on Friday a contract with Commonwealth Architects (Bryan Green) to provide a Feasibility Study for the Farm Bureau Building in Charlotte County Courthouse. This is an abandoned commercial building in the historic district in a distressed courthouse town in southern Virginia. Using funds from the Maple Roads bequest, we purchased the building a couple of years ago with plans to use it as a demonstration project of the effect of a rehabilitation tax credit supported restoration can have on a small town commercial district. This feasibility study will:

include research into the building's history and historic character, an existing condition architectural analysis, building code review, recommendations for reuse, an in-house opinion of costs based on square footage and proposed rehabilitation ... It is the intention of this report to serve as a pre-schematic feasibility study for the full rehabilitation of the building.

This should be a very instructive process, especially in the use of the tax credits by a non-profit as a partner in a rehab process. Stay tuned!

More on Pump House project

Good to see the Restoration Department on the blog - well done! In reviewing photos while listening in on a conference call about the future of Fort Monroe, I came across this photo taken last October. Although you cannot see the full extent of the termite damage, you can see the exterior siding deteriorating and occassionally letting go. I hope the guys can add some progress photos this week as the work progresses.

Bacons Castle pumphouse

The restoration dept. will finish the demolition of the 1920-1940 pumphouse that was so riddled with termite damage that the siding nails would no longer hold. We will replace it with pressure treated materials, hardiplank siding and wood shingle roof. This is part of an ongoing process to take care of deferred maintenance projects based on aesthetics. If our properties look unkempt, we look bad. While we are at the Castle working this week of March 24-28 we will also take advantage of the location to spray primer and paint on the louvered shutters we have prepared for the Poe house and Farmers Bank. We are also in the process of trying to find heart poplar siding for our summer project at the Hollow, although we have had no luck up to this posting.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Butler's Pantry Up and Running at JMH

After two years of planning, the newly installed butler's pantry at the John Marshall House is officially open to the public!

Here's a sneak preview tour, but be sure to stop by the house and see the finished project.

This room is interpreted as a Butler's Pantry. We don't know exactly how it was used in Marshall's day, but we do know that it was probably a service space, based on the very simple wallfinishing (white wash and simple trim, compared to the papers, paints, and grained trim in the rest of the first floor) and location within the house. It certainly would have been a convenient place for Robin Spurlock, the Marshall family's enslaved butler, to have performed some of his daily work, right in the heart of the house and near the outbuildings and cellar.

The room is set up right now as if Spurlock is polishing brass candlesticks and preparing them for use throughout the house. The shelves store frequently needed household items, such as extra canton for use at daily meals and extra wine glasses. Less frequently used items are on the top shelves. A coal scuttle is on the floor, ready to refill the grates throughout the house.

The items in the room are a mixture of period pieces from our collection and new reproductions. I'll provide a full list later, but the short version is that the glassware, redware, and tin are all reproductions; the other ceramics, brass, and copper scuttle are all original.

Scotchtown needs paint!

While out at Scotchtown for a docent meeting this morning, I had a chance again to see the condition of the paint at Scotchtown.

This is just the section above the entrance to the basement on the east facing front. Fortunately, we have the draft specifications from the Historic Structures Report. Scotchtown has been painted several times in the past 20 years and each time we have experienced rapid failure. The specifications call for very deliberate surface preparation, going down to bare wood wherever possible and use of an oil-based primer, as well as an oil-based intermediate and top coat. The architects say the use of latex top coats tend to fail in the sheets that you can see above. We are seeking appropriate contractors to bid on the painting project.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Sample Post

This is just a sample to show how easy this is to use.

On the way back from Bacon's Castle, I heard from Ann that she had figured out how to turn the water back on in the restrooms at Scotchtown. The docents meet there tomorrow for their first meeting prior to the opening for the season April 1. One of the toilets was a bit balky in filling back up but it sounds as if she knows how to take care of it.

Just to keep everyone updated on the progress of the new naming sign for the Archaearium, I also received from David in Carlton Abbott's office the layout of the lettering for the Voorhees Archaearium sign. This is being installed in front of the iron fence and recognises the contribution that Alan, his wife and children made towards the cost of the Archaearium and towards endowing Historic Jamestowne into the future. We have had the steel support frame manufactured and are waiting to agree on the lettering so the steel can be drilled according to the letter layout template, then powdercoated before installation.