State Historic Fund Project #15-02-015 Foundation Stabilization and Masonry Restoration has been completed with final paperwork sent in to the SHF. Despite some issues with the mortar that will be addressed in future grant work, we are very pleased with the outcome. Following are some pictures showing before and after shots of the brick and foundation. As you can see, the museum is now in much better condition. Thanks to all who contributed and all who helped on this very important project.
December 2015 report:
A quick update on the House restoration. Work has been suspended until warmer spring weather.
1. The foundation stones have been repaired and one new stone put in place on the northeast corner of the kitchen. Mortar between the stones has been restored where needed.
2. The brick has been turned or replaced and the mortar has been repointed with the appropriate mixture and color. Cracks have been repaired. In the process of restoring the brick, cinderblocks were discovered along the east and southeast walls of the kitchen and on the second story southeast wall. That was something none of us anticipated. Perhaps a tree fell on the house in the 1950’s? The cinderblock is still there but it is sturdy and not visible.
3. The cement parging on the northeast corner of the kitchen came off with no problems. The color of the bricks behind the cement parging is somewhat different but that might change when we wash the bricks.
4. The removal of the sealant will wait until next spring when the weather warms up. More bricks may need to be turned and touch up of the mortar will probably occur.
5. The masonry demonstration will be scheduled for next spring.
McAllister House Receives History Colorado State Historical Fund Grant
Grant plus matching donated funds will allow much needed restoration work on museum exterior and foundation
The McAllister House Museum received great news on April 15, 2015, when the contract was signed with History Colorado State Historical Fund for a much needed grant . This grant will keep the 142 year-old house standing for the next century. Years of harsh weather and inadequate repairs have left the red brick and limestone exterior in need of proper maintenance and restoration. Funds from the $104,428 grant plus $39,400 raised in matching funds from the community will allow extensive repairs to the limestone foundation and masonry repairs that include repairing and cleaning the red brick and restoring the mortar in between the bricks.
“The house has been through a lot, even surviving the wrecking ball when a parking lot was planned for the site in 1958.” said Terry Thatcher, Co-Chair of the McAllister House Museum Committee. “Most of the house is in good condition except for the exterior masonry. Many of the recommended treatments, particularly from the early 1970’s, didn’t really help but actually caused more damage. Our goal is to employ proper preservation techniques and to educate the community along the way.”
Architectural Historian and Grant Administrator Charise Boomsma of the Preservation Studio noted : “Thanks to the help of the State Historical Fund, the McAllister House Museum will receive much needed restoration work including the removal of a deteriorating clear-coat
material that was applied to the exterior brick, the removal of inappropriate repointing mortar, the restoration of limestone decorative elements, and repointing mortar joints on the foundation and vertical exterior walls. This work is critical to the continued existence of the home.”
To further educate the public about proper historical preservation techniques and masonry restoration during the course of the project, the McAllister House Museum will partner with the Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum, Historic Preservation Alliance of Colorado Springs (HPA) and Historic Old North End Neighborhood (ONEN) to provide a free public training session early this fall that will include a demonstration by a stonemason at the McAllister House and a tour of completed masonry work at the Pioneers Museum. Further, McAllister House will coordinate school tour groups with the stone mason during the course of the project to make masonry preservation a part of the regular educational tours “I have brought my class to the McAllister House for nearly ten years and the curator and docents always provide a meaningful, relevant opportunity increasing understanding of history with a first-hand experience.” said Julie Johnson, third grade teacher at Trailblazer Elementary School in Colorado Springs. “As our standards require our children learn about the rich history of Colorado Springs, we have limited choices in a hands-on experience. A visit to an original, historically correct home of a major Colorado Springs historical figure is an experience we are unable to duplicate in any other location.”
The McAllister House Museum, located at 423 North Cascade Avenue, was the first brick house built in Colorado Springs and the third oldest permanent residence in the city. Constructed in 1873-1874 by Major Henry McAllister, the home has been lovingly restored to its original floor plan and appearance, which contributes to its historical significance. Major McAllister was a close friend and associate of General William J. Palmer, the founder of the City of Colorado Springs and the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad. The McAllister House was purchased in 1960 by The National Society of The Colonial Dames of America in the State of Colorado, an organization committed to historic preservation. The museum was opened to the public in 1961 after undergoing extensive restoration and is operated and managed by the McAllister House Museum Committee. The goal of the Committee is to restore and furnish the home to its original appearance utilizing the 1874 -1884 period of significance in order to present an accurate interpretation of life in Colorado Springs during its earliest years.
This project is paid for in part by a History Colorado State Historical Fund Grant. Additional grant matching funds have been provided by a wide range of community partners including: El Pomar Foundation; Webb Family Fund at the Pikes Peak Community Foundation in memory of Mrs. Barbara Webb; UMBFC Charitable Foundation, UMB Bank, n.a. Trustee; McAllister Foundation; BCER Engineering, Inc.; and numerous private donors, for a total of $39,400.
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