Warren County Preservation Grant

Posted in work plan / schedule on July 7th, 2009 by flg

Last night Michael Margulies, our architect, and I met with the board of the County’s Land & Historic Preservation agency in a preliminary review of our application for a grant of $122,000 for the initial phase of stabilization and preservation of the Roseberry house.  There were several questions about the property, which only a few people there were familiar with; the questions concerned the security of the building once it was restored, the use to which it would be put, the level of commitment of the town to the long-term prospects for the place and its role in the area’s history. Sometime after August 15 they will schedule a formal presentation, and then a visit to the site. Following that, they will make a recommendation to the County Freeholders, who will decide on this and other applications in early December. One board member asked when we might expect to have the place open for visitors—I think all were pleasantly surprised when I said we would entertain several hundred people on July 25 and 26 in conjunction with the Ole Towne Festival.

As we get a little further along in developing a long-range plan for the place, we’ll outline more of our thoughts—not only for preservation and restoration, but for the activities and uses that might be made of the property. We are committed to a large measure of community involvement, so we’ll probably hold our own “hearings” —inviting public comment as well as input from the many people who have been volunteering these past several weeks. I believe everyone close to the project sees this as an extended process, with the restoration proceeding apace with our efforts to develop programs and activities that enhance the educational value of the Roseberry homestead to the community.

work schedule – week of June 29

Posted in work plan / schedule on June 30th, 2009 by flg

Ed Saultz brought his father in to measure the fireplace in the living room; he’s going to build a replacement that closely matches the ones in the parlor. We’re drawing on a wide range of talents in our bootstrapping start on restoration of the building. Ed also spent several hours cleaning up the parlors. On Wednesday we expect a visit from an environmental engineer to check out the mold in the kitchen ceiling and any other potential hazards. We need this for our application for a grant from Warren County. We intend to continue our efforts to clean up the exterior of the building and should have that in pretty good shape by the end of the week. We’ll also clean out the kitchen in preparation for making it fit for tours in late July.

Last Sunday we hosted a Meet-up Group interested in Historical Architecture. Michael Margulies, our architect, is the organizer of that group. At least 16 people were there, almost all deeply involved in restoration efforts in Warren and Hunterdon counties. People were fascinated by the Roseberry house, especially the wall paintings and the associated history. Most have never even heard of the building before. It’s an interested group of people really knowledgeable about 18th century buildings and the history of the region. Here’s the URL if you’d like to learn more: http://www.meetup.com/Historic-Architecture-Meetup/

work schedule – week of June 22

Posted in work plan / schedule on June 17th, 2009 by flg

We expect to have a dozen high school students from North Carolina helping us out with cleaning up the exterior, installing plexiglass in the windows (a temporary measure), and giving the floors a real cleaning. We may even be able to put a coat of primer on the exterior woodwork. C’mon over and say hello to the kids as they help make the place presentable for Ole Towne festival in July.

We had archaeologist Jim Lee in last week to look at the place and give us an opinion as to what areas in and around the house merit a test dig. Then early this week Chris Frey, an historic preservation consultant with the Keystone Preservation Group, was in to take paint and mortar samples. Chris was really intrigued by the wall paintings in the parlor, the hallway and the new “kitchen,” saying they deserve careful study and preservation.

Tour of the Vannatta homestead

Posted in work plan / schedule on June 11th, 2009 by flg

A guided tour of the Vannatta farmhouse is scheduled for this Saturday, June 13 at 4 pm. The building has many similarities with the Roseberry house, so it should be interesting to see what’s been done. Mike Margulies, our architect, will guide the tour, but members of their board will also be present. The Vannatta house is located on Route 519, in Harmony. All are welcome. There’s a link to its website on the right.

work schedule – May 23

Posted in work plan / schedule on May 22nd, 2009 by flg

We’ll be there by 10 am on Saturday. Lots of scraping of walls, but not in the rooms on left side on the ground floor, where we’ve noticed some amazing wall painting—mostly stylized flowers and floral patterns. We’ve done a lot of preping and patching of ceilings, so there’s a lot of debris on the floor—more clean-up needed. Do bring a scraper and a mask if you plan on helping—the dust raised really is noxious. Even if you can’t stay long, c’mon by and talk with us about our progress, what we’ve found, and how our plans are developing.

stabilization & restoration practices

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

As we come closer to getting rid of the debris that has accumulated inside the building we will turn our attention to chipping loose paint from the walls, cleaning up the floors and repairing the ceilings, which are in terrible shape. As we do this we will be guided by the practices recommended by the U.S. Department of the Interior for the preservation of historic structures. They have quite an interesting website that specifies acceptable and not recommended practices. We’d really like to have every volunteer read a least a few sections—some are devoted to exterior walls and masonry, some to windows and others to finishes. There are illustrations accompanying the guidelines, and often some explanation of why a specific practice—such as sandblasting masonry—is a bad idea. I think you’ll have a greater appreciation of our work, and of other historic structures that have been restored after you’ve read a few sections.

Here’s the link to the website Standards for Rehabilitation—there’s also a quick list of some practices that we want to be sure to avoid; it’s labeled Not Recommended Practices under the Of Interest (Offsite Links).

work schedule – May 16

Posted in work plan / schedule on May 14th, 2009 by flg

We’ll work in the two front rooms on the ground floor—scraping paint and crud from the walls and floors and chair rail moldings. Bring masks and brooms and scrappers, if you can. We’ll also clean up and haul away some of the debris that’s accumulated outside the building. I’ll be there by 10am—probably a bit earlier; Scott is going to be down in South Carolina on Saturday, but promised to get a door on before he leaves.

work schedule

Posted in work plan / schedule on May 4th, 2009 by flg

We’ll be working this Saturday, May 9, rain or shine. There will be someone there by 10am, maybe earlier.

We’ve cleaned up quite a bit, but the place still has a lot of debris on the floor, so if you have a face mask, bring it.  If you can, also bring a small broom, brush or dustpan, and work gloves, too.

We have one really nasty job ahead of us—tearing down the poison ivy on the exterior of the building. We’ll put some Round-up on them this week, but that doesn’t mean anything if you are handling the vines—killing them does not eliminate the oils that produce the rash.  If you are especially susceptible, don’t even consider helping with this. If you aren’t and can cover up well, then bring gloves, a hat, long-sleeve shirt and clippers or long-handled shears. It has to be done, and the sooner the better.