Friday, July 25, 2008

Tower Ribbon Cutting

Today The Bostonian Society and the Old State House hosted the Tower Restoration Project Ribbon Cutting. The ceremony marked the first "brick and mortar" project to be completed under the National Park Service's Centennial Initiative. The Centennial Initiative matches government funding with private donations for projects within the National Parks. Attendees included Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne, Director of the National Park Service Mary Bomar, as well as representatives from the Boston National Historical Park, and representatives from the City of Boston.

In this photo, Brian LeMay, Executive Director of The Bostonian Society, gives opening remarks.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

South Scaffolding Comes Down

Last night the two piers or legs on the south side of the building were dismantled. The end is just about a day away. Seeing the entrance without scaffolding was a pleasant sight upon coming into work this morning.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Crane Day a Success

On Saturday night the crew from Marr took down the large, steel beams that supported the scaffolding levels. Working from about 7pm until 2am, the crew pulled down groups of small beams as well as four 24ft beams and four 60ft beams. The large, 60ft beams weighed a hefty 6,000lbs each and were taken away on an extended trailer. Once they left the site it signaled the end of the most nerve-racking portion of the project. The four piers or legs will be coming down over night this week and everything will be cleaned up by Thursday morning.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Scaffolding Down to the Beams

Today the crew from Marr Scaffolding took the staging down to the beam level. The big crane will be on-site Saturday night to lift the beams and fully reveal the tower. The piers on the north and south side of the building will be taken down Monday and Tuesday. The Old State House will be back to normal by the middle of next week.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Tower is Partially Revealed

Yesterday, a crew from Marr Scaffolding began to disassemble the upper stages of scaffolding. This work truly signifies that the project is coming to an end. The project team has been checking the progress and signing off on the work before each stage comes down. By next week the completed tower will be visible to all.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Scrolls Are Added

Yesterday marked the end of the carpentry work on the Old State House tower. After the electricians installed the tower lighting, the carpenters could finish the job they started back in April. The balustrades were the first pieces off the tower and the last pieces finished. The scrolls were mounted yesterday afternoon and it marked the end of the work for the carpenters, who have spent so much time here over the last three and a half months that they are now part of our family.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Balustrades Get New Flashing

The lower balustrades have been progressing towards the finished product slowly, but surely. After the balustrades were fitted together, the brackets were installed by chiseling out part of each balustrade. The quarter round trim, urns, and the top finish rail were then put into place. The scrolls were fitted and the base for them was installed. Last Friday, the corners of the balustrades were fitted with a lead flashing to protect the wood from water dripping off the urns. The balustrades were painted over the weekend and the scrolls will be installed this week, finishing the work to the lower balustrades.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Balustrades Fitted for Scrolls

Today the carpentry crew worked with the lower balustrades to fit the scrolls. The scrolls are one of the last decorative pieces to go on the tower and they create a unique look for the lower balustrade. In the pictures you can see that the crews are working on leveling the scrolls and creating a finished look.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Project Team Profile

Name: Bill Barlow

Title: Senior Historical Architect

Company: Boston National Historic Park, National Park Service

How long have you done this? I have on and off worked for the National Park Service for over thirty two years. I started as an intern architect in 1969, worked for the Denver Service Center, then in 1979 headed up the preservation programs/projects in Lowell for the NPS as the Assistant Superintendent, and for the last eleven years as a Senior Historical Architect for the NPS. In addition I also worked for Colonial Williamsburg Foundation and had/have my own private practice.

What is most rewarding about this project? There are many rewarding aspects of the project. First is to be part of a committed team that sees the preservation of the OSH and its tower as a rare opportunity to leave a legacy to the City and its history. I also find it very rewarding to learn and share insights on how best to preserve the tower with the team. It is a very heady feeling to step back and see one of our nation's icons looking good and know that your fingerprints are all over the building.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Lower Balustrade Installation Begins

Today the carpentry crew began the installation of the lower balustrades. The eight major pieces are in place--the four balustrades and four corner posts--but more is to come. The work is far from over as the scrolls, trim, brackets, and urns are still to be installed.

Project Team Profile

Name: Matt Ottinger

Title: Facilities Manager

Company: The Bostonian Society and Old State House Museum

How long have you done this? I have been with The Bostonian Society for about a year and a half.

What is most rewarding about this project? This building has survived through centuries and what we are currently undertaking will ensure that the building will survive longer. We can all look at the tower a year from now and know that we have participated in history. Our efforts to save the building from its environment is an important part of the story this building has to tell. There is also undeniably a wealth of knowledge that has teamed up for this project. This has been an invaluable learning experience for myself and one that I am very happy to have been a part of.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Upper Balustrades Installed

Between yesterday and this morning, the upper balustrades were installed. The balustrades came from the workshop in multiple pieces, including the corner posts, rails, and finish molding. The urns, which never left the site, were one of the last pieces put into place. These photos show the work in progress.

Work will not take place tomorrow in observance of the 4th of July.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Project Team Profile

Name: Chick Milford

Title: Project superintendent

Company: Lee Kennedy Co.

How long have you done this? I have spent 23 years in the construction industry and 4 years with Lee Kennedy Co.

What is most rewarding about this project? From a construction perspective working on the preservation of this historic building is a great opportunity. What I feel to be the most rewarding portion of this project is meeting and working with the people involved in it. Each person associated with the project’s planning and the current construction administration, from The Bostonian Society and its museum staff to the architects and consultants, brings a passion and caring for the tower renovation project that I do not typically feel on most commercial construction projects. It is truly a pleasure to be part of the construction process with them.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Weathervane Returns to the Top

Yesterday morning members of our staff and the project team returned the newly gilded weathervane to its perch atop the Old State House. After being on display inside the museum for the last 3 weeks, and being professionally gilded the weathervane was carefully wrapped and carried up the scaffolding. Once at the top, the compass was placed on and then the spire was given a layer of grease to ensure the easy movement of the weathervane. As you see in the picture, Adele Barbato, Pam Bailey, Chick Milford, and Rainey Tisdale placed the weathervane onto its home. The weathervane will soon be visible and shinning brightly for the 4th of July.

Project Team Profile

Name: Rainey Tisdale

Title: Director of the Old State House Museum

Company: The Bostonian Society and Old State House Museum

How long have you done this? Seven years. I started out as The Bostonian Society’s collections manager and worked my way up, first to director of collections and exhibitions and then to director of the Old State House Museum.

What is most rewarding about this project? I’d say the project team, but did you notice that answer’s been taken by everyone else? So instead I’ll say the historical investigation. Since the tower is primarily made of wood, which is vulnerable to weather and to fire, I assumed it had been re-built so many times that very little of its 18th-century material survived. But when we peeled away the outer layers of siding and flashing, it turned out that most of the framing and the sheathing date as far back as 1748. It was really amazing to get an up-close look at 18th-century building material and techniques. Plus, nothing beats the view from the top of the scaffolding on a warm spring day.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Upper Balustrades Come Home and the Windows Get Installed

The upper balustrades came back from M&A Restoration's carpentry shop on Friday afternoon for a fitting. After extensive rebuilding in the shop, the top and bottom rails are new, as are the corner posts--they were too rotten to save. All the old balusters were restored and retained, however. With a little more work the upper balustrades will be finished and installed this week.

As noted in an earlier post, the windows came home last week and Friday afternoon they were fitted back into the frames.

Project Team Profile

Name: Brian LeMay

Title: Executive Director

Company: The Bostonian Society and Old State House Museum

How long have you done this? I've been with the Society for almost 4 years now.

What is most rewarding about this project? I've found the level of dedication in all our project partners to the ideals of historic preservation has been quite extraordinary. Nobody is going to become famous or wealthy working on this project, but everybody involved seems to be placing the interests of the building above their own.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Windows Come Home

Starting yesterday and continuing today, the windows for the Old State House tower returned from the woodworking shop. The windows, dating to 1882, went through a full restoration that involved stripping the paint and glaze, repairing the sash, finishing with reglazing, and repainting. The windows will be installed over the week and are one of the final pieces to go into place.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Project Team Profile

Name: Pam Bailey

Title: Project Manager

Company: Lee Kennedy Co.

How long have you done this? I have been with Lee Kennedy for 10 years and in the construction business for 15 years.

What is most rewarding about this project? The unique opportunity to look through a window at building and construction in the 18th century while participating in preservation with 21st century knowledge. Also, being part of a team that is so cohesive in its mission and shared respect for not only the building but each individual’s contribution to the project.

Painting Begins

Last week the crew from Wall Dimensions began painting the tower. For this project we are using an oil-based paint from Benjamin Moore. We are using oil so that the paint will fail before the wood. If we had used common latex paint, the paint would hold too well, preventing wet wood underneath from drying properly and also hiding problems with the wood.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Project Team Profile

Name: David Storeygard

Title: Architect, AIA Principal

Company: Tellalian Associates Architects & Planners, LLC

How long have you done this? I've been with TAAP for 15 years.

What is most rewarding about this project? I'm rewarded by the opportunity to work on one of the most significant buildings in the country with a gracious group of very talented people. I get to continually learn from both the building and my colleagues.

Corners Receive Custom Flashing

As the weather changes from hot to cold and dry to damp, the wood on the tower expands and contracts. For the mitered cornices and trim details, the movement of the wood allowed an moisture to find its way into the building. One of the goals of this project was to address this issue more effectively. Therefore, the mitered corners are receiving custom-made flashing covers. The new flashing covers, seen above, will create a barrier and give water running down the side of the tower a solid surface over which to travel towards the roof and then away from the building.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Project Team Profile

Name: Don Tellalian

Title: Architect, AIA Principal

Company: Tellalian Associates Architects & Planners, LLC

How long have you done this? The TAAP firm was established in 1985, I have been a registered architect since 1965 (New York).

What is most rewarding about this project? The privilege of participating with a team dedicated to the stewardship of one of the most important buildings in New England. It is a project where I continue to learn, not only from my colleagues, but from the structure itself.

Much of our professional experience has involved both additions to and rehabilitation of landmark buildings, as well as the design of museums and exhibit spaces. The Old State House, working with you all at The Bostonian Society, gives us the opportunity to bring that diverse experience to the effort.

Last of the Siding Put in Place

The last few pieces of siding were placed on the tower this morning by the crew from M&A Architectural Preservation, Inc. The top two boards from the old siding were found to be particularly historic and so they were saved in place. Therefore, the top-most new board had to be specially milled and carefully joined to the old boards.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Project Team Profile

Name: Judy Selwyn

Title: Historic Materials Conservator

Company: Preservation Technology Associates

How long have you done this? I've been doing this for 34 years!

What is most rewarding about this project? The best part is working with good people who care about art, materials, and how they are part of a historic building. Also, it is fun to see what former generations have built, how they built it and to see things that so few people have seen--like the tower dome framing.

Monday, June 16, 2008

More Masonry

Haven Restoration Co. continues the masonry work at the south side of the building. In this picture, masons work on a lift at the southwest corner of the Old State House.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Gilding the Dome and Weathervane

The Old State House dome is getting a bright new gold finish. The process on the dome began last week and will be finished today. The weathervane was finished yesterday when the team from Evergreene Painting Studios held a public demonstration of the gilding process in Representatives Hall. The weathervane had been moved to the gallery for the demonstration and it will continue to be on display until June 21.

The process of gilding involves four steps. First, the surface is stripped. Second, the surface is primed; in our case a lead-based primer was used. Third, the surface is coated with a clear, sticky product called sizing. The final step is laying the gold leaf, which has to be done before the sizing dries out.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Upclose with the Lion

The masonry work on the southeast parapet is taking place right near the large lion on the east end of the building. These pictures highlight a few aspects of the lion that are difficult to see from the ground.