Congratulations to Noah Woodruff!

Posted in work plan / schedule on May 21st, 2012 by flg

Noah was the master carpenter on the replacement of the windows and doors. He is the feature in the cover story in the Journal of Light Construction. One has to be a subscriber to see the entire 8 page article, but the first 100 words are free:

We see a lot of old buildings in our work in eastern Pennsylvania and western New Jersey. Many are built of stone, which has a unique elegance but also presents some production challenges – for example, how best to install windows and doors, the components most likely to fail. On a recent project, we were asked to repair the windows and doors of a 1760s Georgian stone building. In some cases, we were able to replace just the thresholds, sills, and sash, but many of the openings required complete replacements.

The article has a step-by-step narrative with many excellent photos. I’m trying to get a copy, or permission to display the PDF here, but don’t know if that’s possible. We’re proud of Noah, and delighted to show off his excellent work.

Preservation Plan – initial activity

Posted in programs & activities, work plan / schedule on November 17th, 2011 by flg

On Armistice Day (November 11, for those too young to remember the original name) work began on preparation of the Preservation Plan which is funded by a grant from the New Jersey Historic Preservation Trust. The morning started with a walk-through and then a close examination of the beams,  joists and other structural elements by engineer Jim Huffman. His report will provide guidance for what is needed to assure long-term stability and adequate load-bearing capacity for the house. Dr. Richard Veit is a dendrochronologist–one who determines the age of a wooden beam by analyzing the annual rings that are formed as the tree grows.

Jim Huffman makes notes after examining the joists in the kitchen

Dendrochronology is the scientific method of dating based on the analysis of patterns of tree-rings. Dendrochronology can date the time at which tree rings were formed, in many types of wood, to the exact calendar year. In some areas of the world, it is possible to date wood back a few thousand years, or even many thousands. In most areas, however, wood can only be dated back several hundred years, if at all. Currently, the maximum for fully anchored chronologies is a little over 11,000 years from present. (That ought to be sufficient for our purposes.)

Dr. Richard Veit drilling a core in the King beam

Richard used a hollow bit to drill in the king beam in the cellar and obtain a wooden core–a cross section of the beam showing the annual growth rings. He took  more samples from the queen beam on the second floor and several in the large lintel over the fireplace in the attached kitchen, obtaining in each case 5-6 inch cores. Those cores then go to the lab at Columbia University, and in a couple of months we may find out when those wooden beams were cut. Richard believes the beams were red oak rather than the more common white oak.

In the afternoon several people from the historical society met with historian Dennis Bertland, listening to him outline the nature of his investigation using deeds, wills, newspaper clippings, court records and other sources which we expect will fill in a lot of the early history of the house. Dennis has done a lot of work in Warren, Hunterdon and Morris, and knows the region’s historical structures quite well; equally important, he is very conversant with the documentary record. I’ve read his report on the “Fleming Castle” in Flemington and the Zion Lutheran Church in Oldwick, and was astonished at the depth of detail Dennis had uncovered.

All three of these reports will be posted on this site when they are received.

New window frames ready for installation

Posted in work plan / schedule on June 2nd, 2011 by flg

In the first weeks of June passersby will notice something very new about the Roseberry House-the original windows have been refurbished where possible and replaced where necessary. The millwork has been competed, stacked up waiting for the windows themselves in the photo below. The original color—a dark brownish red—discovered on a shim beneath one of the original sills was scanned and matched by the nice people at Sherwin-Williams in town, is being applied. The place will begin to approach its original appearance. There’s not enough money available now to replace the shutters, but that will happen next year (we hope!). In the meantime, we’ll have to put plywood over the windows again—to protect them from stone-throwers who pitched rocks through many of the temporary blue plexiglass panels that have been there for the last year. That’s unfortunate, but vandalism is a fact of life, even for historic places.

Information for Bidders–revised

Posted in programs & activities, work plan / schedule on November 8th, 2010 by flg

We are bidding the stabilization/restoration work for the Roseberry House now— primarily windows, doors, gutters and some masonry. Bidding documents are available here. We expect the winning bid will come from a firm that has extensive experience on 18th century stone buildings on the National Register.  Here are the first several paragraphs of the official notice:

  1. Notice is hereby given that bids will be received by the Phillipsburg Area Historical Society at 675 Corliss Boulevard, Phillipsburg, Warren County, New Jersey for the ROSEBERRY HOUSE STABILIZATION PHASE 1.
  2. Bids will be received for the following contracts:
  3. Overall Single Prime (all of the work)

Bids for the above Contracts will be received by The Phillipsburg Area Historical Society, 375 Corliss Avenue, Phillipsburg, NJ  08865 until 2 pm, Local Time, on Tuesday, November 30, 2010, and will be publicly opened and read aloud immediately thereafter.

  1. Bidding Documents are being revised to encourage bidding on individual parts of the work (masonry, gutter & downspouts, etc).
  2. The plans and specifications already posted have not changed, but bidding requirements and procedures have been revised as of November 23.

All bid documents can be downloaded from the menu on the right, under Pages/Revised Bid Documents.

Additional information is available from Frank Greenagel, 908 627-1234, or from the architect, Michael Margulies at 908-387-8630. To arrange a tour of the building please call  Mr. Greenagel.

the dig is on

Posted in Uncategorized, work plan / schedule on May 1st, 2010 by flg

documenting the unit outside the kitchenDocumentation is an important part of every archaeological dig. Dan is in the trench (called a “unit”) and Andy is recording the depth at which the soil changed from one color and texture to another. Every bit of glass, pottery, nails, etc. is recorded by the  depth where it was found. Nothing very dramatic about this unit, but cumulatively all the little pieces may tell us something of the lifestyle of the people who lived here a hundred, or perhaps even 250 years ago.

Andy, Dan and Jim Lee will be digging underneath the floor in the kitchen next week (Monday, Wednesday and Thursday). All are invited to come and watch. And take a look at the unique wall painting and stenciling in the parlors.

update February 4

Posted in programs & activities, work plan / schedule on February 11th, 2010 by flg

We’ve had visits from Jim Lee of Hunter Research (archaeologists) and Chris Frey of Keystone Preservation (the wall paints and mortar analysis) in the last week, in both cases looking ahead to the research work that is critical to dating and preserving the property. Actual work will have to await warmer weather, probably in late March. But we did map out the areas where the archaeologists will do some digging, and we identified several panels in the parlor where the task of removing the layers of paint atop the wall paintings will begin. Chris was amazed at the extent of the paintings, which he said were usually confined to a single room or two. We plan to invite scholars and students from universities with major preservation programs (Columbia, Drew, Penn) to visit us during some of Chris’ work, and hope that we can find a graduate student or two who might consider doing a thesis or dissertation on the paintings and their preservation. We are going to put the Roseberry house on the map!

Open House – October 17 2009

Posted in programs & activities, work plan / schedule on October 9th, 2009 by wpw

We’re going to open the house to the public on October 17, 2009, from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM. Drop in for a look to see how we’re doing on the restoration; learn more about colonial times and the Phillipsburg of old.

site visit

Posted in work plan / schedule on September 23rd, 2009 by flg

The Warren County Municipal & Charitable Conservancy Trust Fund committee will visit the Roseberry house on Friday, October 2, at noon. All are welcome. We’ll conduct guided tours of the house for members of the committee, and respond to any questions they have. This is the last step in the process of evaluating projects that have applied for funding. The visit was originally scheduled for two days, Friday and Saturday, but the Saturday visit has been cancelled.

Ole Towne Festival schedule – July 25-26

Posted in work plan / schedule on July 23rd, 2009 by flg

The Roseberry Homestead will be open for limited tours between noon and 5 pm on both Saturday and Sunday. We’ll have several rooms available, including the center hall, the parlor, the “living room” and the old kitchen. We may guide a very limited number of people through the upstairs rooms, although a final decision has not been made on that. The house is stable, and there is a coat of paint on three of the rooms, but we are still in the early stages of securing the building, so no one should expect an elegantly-restored eighteenth-century manor. But we’re pretty proud of what we’ve accomplished in the last few months, and we’re looking forward to our first visitors.

John Torkos of the 22nd Regiment

John Torkos of the 22nd Regiment

On Saturday, John Torkos, a British Revolutionary War soldier will talk about his “kit,” and the role of his regiment in the Revolution. John is very knowledgeable about the late Colonial/Revolutionary War period, so his appearance is sure to be of broad interest. He’ll be available from 1:30 to about 4 pm, Saturday only.

Sunday will offer a sample of the roots of American music.

12:30 – 1:15 pm – Russ Cole and Kim Newell will treat all to a Colonial Fife and Drum concert complete with discussions about the music, the tradition, and their application in pre and post Revolutionary society.

1:30 to 2:15 pm – The lovely Theresa Couture, a brilliant Sean Nós (Old Style) singer, will treat all to a presentation of some of Ireland’s great ballads as well as discuss their origins and importance in Irish culture.

2:30 to 3:15 pm – The brilliant band Sonas will treat all to the great music of Cape Breton.

3:30 to 4:15 pm – Ed Saultz and friends will treat all to some of Ireland’s traditional dance music (the jigs, reels, hornpipes, polkas, and airs) as well as some of her traditional songs.

4:15 to 5:00 pm – We’ll all take the stage together for some tunes and song!

Ed Saultz put together this program and all the musicians have volunteered their time to offer this as an introduction to the educational and cultural goals of the Roseberry Homestead restoration.

work schedule – week of July 19

Posted in work plan / schedule on July 18th, 2009 by flg

Just one week left before Olde Towne Festival and lots to do. We’ll install the three remaining windows today, and perhaps get the temporary plywood flooring down in the kitchen. We still need to level the ground at the rear and spread the woodchips. Randy Piazza has been cutting up the big tree limbs that were taken down, but more need to be sawn up and taken away. And we want to get a coat of paint on the kitchen walls. Bob Gloor did a nice job on one of the upstairs bedrooms, and Dan Seyler has been vacuuming  several of the major rooms downstairs. We’ll probably be working at little things right up until the first visitor arrives. Your help is needed.

By the way, we’d like to have people available next Saturday and Sunday during the Festival. You may be able to guide visitors through the house, or just be there to answer questions (and maybe sign-up new members or volunteers). A Revolutionary War re-enactor (British version) will be there Saturday afternoon, and several groups performing musical selections with Celtic, Scottish, Irish roots will perform on Sunday afternoon. No sign-up is necessary—just show up when you have an hour or so.