Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Moisture Control at the Cole-Digges

The Restoration Department was performing its inspection of the roofs at headquarters at the beginning of June, 2011, and discovered some significant and urgent problems. Its typical for us to have to apply either seam tape or Geocil 2315 LRF, a fibered brushable rubber sealant, to the seams of the rubber roof about every 4 years. The EPDM that was installed in 1995 is in good shape, but the seam adhesive used dries out, allowing the seams to crack and seperate. In addition to this normal maintenance, we had to repair holes gouged into the EPDM from pieces of bed frame hurled onto the Cole-Digges from the roof of the tenant house next door. We also removed a throw rug, a piece of flashing, and a toilet plunger(someone making a political statement).
The real problems were to the terne-coated, standing seam metal roof that had been applied to the 1805 section of the Cole-Digges. The roof paint was flaking badly, and the roof underneath was starting to rust. The department scrubbed the old paint off with a solution of tsp and warm water, then rinsed with copious amounts of water from a garden hose. The next day the metal was dry and clean. What little flake that was left was swept off with a broom. The seams were painted with a brush, while the flats were rolled. The primer used was Sherwin-Williams Kem-Kromik, in red oxide, and the topcoat was industrial enamel, in that same color. We used 10 gallons of each, at a cost of about$1000. I hope it lasts.
The most serious problem was at the interior gutter of the porch section. The middle front of the gutter sags, allowing ponding water. There was a two foot section of the gutter that had completely rusted out due to this ponding, but with no visible signs of damage to the porch cornice, and no indication of where the water went after it entered the leak-area. It was very curious. We finally determined that there is an EPDM rubber gutter beneath the metal gutter. Rain entered the leak hole, ran under the metal gutter, causing it to rust and leak from the underside, then re-entered the gutter at the downspout locations through the almost invisible underside leaks, and ran into the downspouts. I couldn't make this stuff up. Restoration crimped, soldered, and sealed with brushable sealant, a section of galvanized sheet metal where the ponding water occurred. The gutter bottoms were repaired using 6 inch rubber seam tape, and everything was primed and painted. The final solution for the interior gutters will be a layer of EPDM adhesed to the top of the metal gutter. Epdm is much better at handling ponding water then sheet metal. A section of downspout was also replaced at the front of the house.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Public Comments made by Preservation Virginia at the Fort Monroe Public Meeting on 19 July 2011

The Public Meeting was held by the National Park Service with the support of the City of Hampton. More than 500 people turned out for the mid-day hearing and even more at the evening session. The speakers were overwhelming in favor of establishing a National Park Unit at Fort Monroe to create a sustainable partnership with the Fort Monroe Authority the Commonwealth and the City of Hampton. You can still voice your opinion by registering comments at by 25 July.

Good afternoon and thank you for the opportunity to provide public comment.

I am Elizabeth Kostelny, Preservation Virginia’s Executive Director. I am here to register our support for the establishment of a National Park Service Unit at Fort Monroe.

Preservation Virginia was founded in 1889 to save Virginia’s historic landmarks and places from decay and ruin. Now with more than 6000 members statewide, we continue to support preservation goals as stewards of Historic Jamestowne, Patrick Henry’s Scotchtown, John Marshall’s Richmond home and through sharing resources with a growing a network of committed organizations and individuals who view our historic places as important to the economic and cultural health of our Commonwealth.

Fort Monroe is a place of extraordinary significance and is distinguished by its unique and irreplaceable historic, cultural, natural, scenic, and recreational values. Fort Monroe is a critical part of our nation’s military, maritime and Civil Rights history. John Smith recognized the strategic importance of Point Comfort as early as 1608. Two centuries later, the building of fortifications safeguarded this waterway. During the Civil War, the contraband movement was born after three brave and enslaved men escaped Confederate troops and arrived at Fort Monroe. Their escape inspired others and signaled the end of the slavery in America. Fort Monroe is central to this nation and to this community.

On a personal note as a child growing up in Newport News, for me Fort Monroe is a powerful place. Playing along the shore, visiting in the homes and exploring the fortifications gave me an understanding that history was not about things behind glass or in cases. It instead was about engaging the past and respecting the subtleties that are gained through living with that history all around you.

Preservation Virginia believes that Fort Monroe must be carefully preserved as a vibrant and economically self-sustaining, publicly accessible place where people live, work, and visit—a place to create an ongoing dialogue about our past and our future. This responsibility is enhanced through partnerships on all levels—private and public, federal, state and local government. We appreciate the tremendous efforts of and opportunities provided by the Fort Monroe Authority, the Commonwealth, the Virginia Department of Historic Resources, and the City of Hampton and especially the leadership of Mayor Ward. We acknowledge the Programmatic Agreement and the Design Guidelines as mechanisms for the long term preservation and economic sustainable of the site.

Preservation Virginia supports the designation of Fort Monroe as a National Monument. With National Park Service involvement, our dialogue of what it means to be an American will be enhanced and sustained. Having the NPS as partner at this significant site will create a model that will emulated nationwide and that will endure

We respectfully urge President Obama to use his authority to create a National Monument at Fort Monroe. Thank you.