New Paltz, N.Y. (June 1, 2018) – Starting June 4, phase one of the project to restore the original 18th-century roof framing of the Jean Hasbrouck House (ca. 1721) at Historic Huguenot Street (HHS) will begin and is expected to continue through June 15.
The Jean Hasbrouck House is a specific and rare example of traditional Dutch 18th-century architecture. The house’s high-pitched gable roof spans twice the depth of other stone houses from the period and is one of a kind in the United States. The house was named a National Historic Landmark in 1967 and serves as the flagship house of seven historic house museums comprising Historic Huguenot Street’s 10-acre National Historic Landmark District (awarded 1960).
The project in the first two weeks of June focuses on the repair of damaged rafter feet on both the west and east slopes of the house as well as frame connections on the interior in the 18th-century timber-roof frame.
In spring 2017, Ken Follett of PreCon Logstrat, LLC (project manager) and Derek Trelstad of Silman Associates (structural engineers) recommended bringing in timber-frame experts Rudy and Laura Christian of Christian and Son, Inc., and Ian Stewart of New Netherland Timber Framing and their experienced team to ensure a historically appropriate and structurally sound solution to issues in the 300-year-old roof framing. The need for this expertise was based on a 2D and 3D structural analysis provided by Silman Associates.
The timber framers made a site visit in July 2017 and spent a week removing the lower two feet of sheathing to closely examine the rafter feet. This examination revealed rot where the feet of roughly half of the rafters meet the top plates on the west slope of the roof. Similar deterioration was noted on rafters on the east slope and, in particular, problems at the distinctive entry shed roof. As it stands, before replacement of wooden shingles can occur, the project requires repair and replacement of damaged portions of the rafters. It has been determined that the wooden shingles have been replaced on a 30-year cycle, but that the problems with the timber frame itself have not been addressed since the original construction.
The project team at this time looks at the structure in mind to preserve it for the next 300 years. Materials will be replaced in a historically appropriate fashion. The final phase of the project will be to replace wooden shingles with shaved shakes deemed suitable for the historic interpretation of the house in 1721. HHS has raised more than $215,000 of the total project cost from individuals and foundations, along with contributions of historically appropriate materials from the traditional timber frame community, but must still raise an additional $120,000 to complete all phases of restoration.
About the Timber Framers
Rudy Christian and Laura Saeger have decades of experience reconstructing and repairing historic timber frame structures across the country and beyond. Projects include the Big Barn at Malabar Farm State Park near Mansfield, Ohio and relocation of the 19th-century Crawford Horse Barn in Newark, Ohio, re-creating and raising an 18th-century carriage house frame in Washington, D.C., as part of the Smithsonian Folk Life Festival. Other projects include relocating Thomas Edison’s #11 laboratory building from the Henry Ford Museum to West Orange, New Jersey, where it was originally built, and the restoration of the Mansfield Blockhouse, a hewn-log structure built by the U.S. military in 1812. During the summer of 2006, Rudy; his son, Carson; and his wife, Laura, were the lead instructors and conservation specialists for the Field School at Mt. Lebanon Shaker Village, during which the 1838 timber frame granary was restored. Since May 2015 Rudy and Laura have been working as consultants to the World Monuments Fund in the restoration of the Golden Palace Monastery in Mandalay, Myanmar. In the summer of 2017 they reconstructed the historic timber-frame belfry at Glendale Cemetery in Akron, Ohio, in collaboration with Stan Hywet Hall.
Rudy’s educational background includes the study of structural engineering at both General Motor’s Institute in Flint, Michigan, and Akron University in Ohio. He and his son Carson have also studied historic compound roof layout and computer modeling at the Gewerbe Akademie in Rotweil, Germany. Laura has a formal education in Art History and Special Education. Rudy and Laura are active in the preservation field as founding members and having past leadership roles in the Timber Framers Guild, Friends of Ohio Barns, the Preservation Trades Network, Traditional Timberframe Research and Advisory Group, and the International Trades Education Initiative.
Also working on the project are Ian Stewart and Windy McGlinsky. Ian Stewart has been working in the preservation trades for over a decade, having worked as a restoration craftsman in the past at Historic Huguenot Street and Historic Hudson Valley. He worked for the esteemed millwright Jim Kricker, honing his skills of woodworking, timber framing, blacksmithing, and masonry. He is now owner of New Netherland Timber Framing and holds a Masters degree in Preservation Studies from Boston University. His specialty is 17th- and 18th-century Anglo-Dutch houses of the Hudson Valley. Windy McGlinsky, also of New Netherland Timber Framing, brings 15 years’ experience in renovations, framing, and more to the project, along with a passion for old buildings and bringing worn structures back to service.
About Historic Huguenot Street
A National Historic Landmark District, Historic Huguenot Street is a 501(c)3 non-profit that encompasses 30 buildings across 10 acres comprising the heart of the original 1678 New Paltz settlement, including seven stone houses dating to the early eighteenth century. Historic Huguenot Street was founded in 1894 as the Huguenot Patriotic, Historical, and Monumental Society to preserve the nationally acclaimed collection of stone houses. Since then, Historic Huguenot Street has grown into an innovative museum, chartered as an educational corporation by the University of the State of New York Department of Education, which is dedicated to protecting our historic buildings, preserving an important collection of artifacts and manuscripts, and promoting the stories of the Huguenot Street families from the seventeenth century to today.
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