Friday, May 9, 2008

The Leaning Chimney of Petersburg

I met on Wednesday with the contractor working up a proposal for correcting the lean on one of the four chimney stacks at the Farmer's Bank in Petersburg. This is one of the three stacks that was blown down by the Petersburg tornado in 1993. All were rebuilt at the time and the slate pyramidal roof enclosed by the chimneys also was rebuilt. This stack is strictly for uniformity. It rises above a stairwell and keeps the exterior of the house in symmetry, but serves no practical function (and never did). Due to either improper blocking or deterioration in one of the rafters supporting the ceiling joists, it began to show a marked tilt about three years ago. We opened a small hole in the ceiling directly under the chimney stack to try to get an indication of the reason, but until more is revealed, not a lot can be understood.

The first step is to scaffold the entire side of the building, remove the chimney stack and the inwardly curved section of the parapet wall. When the danger of collapse is removed, we can then open more of the ceiling and investigate the support system so we Can be assured the fix will last this time. Plans now call for the stack removal to begin within a couple of months. Stay tuned!

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