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Restoration of the Old Naval Hospital

Update - April 20, 2006

Restoration Revealed!

The south facade has just been opened to view and now the new window and door restorations can clearly be seen, along with the new color for the woodwork. The window hoods and sills have also been restored. Work on the portico, cast iron staircase, the brick retaining wall under the staircase and the repointing of the basement level brick, is well underway.

The new color of the woodwork can clearly be seen now on the windows. It is a very elegant reddish brown and gives a very different impression from the white color they were painted. The locking hardware on the inside of the windows has also been installed and is a very nice period piece itself. That, along with the inside window insulation (last article) finishes off the window work, both inside and out.

The casement windows are also done. The refabricated windows are painted and ready for their hardware. The casement shutters show the new color to great advantage. They are also awaiting the installation of the hardware, which will be completed in the next week or so. The workmanship on the window elements is very high quality.

The stone hoods and sills for the windows are also restored. This required removing the white paint from the sandstone and then repairing the elements. The sandstone had deteriored significantly in some of the openings. The repair of those was done with a technique using sand, lime and other materials with a binder, filling in the damaged areas and then reforming the hood. This latter photo shows the partial restoration of a hood. When dry and set, the repair is virtually indistinguishable from the original. Again, the craftmanship is of the highest quality.

Work on the south portico is advancing rapidly. The floor (of clear, vertical grain Douglas Fir) is now laid and primed over completely restored below-flooring joists. Once again, most of the joists were restored with some minor refabrication was done where needed. Newly refabricated elements were made of Spanish Cedar (not Spanish Cypress as earlier reported).

The balusters are being also restored with a few having to be refabricated. The originals were turned in one piece from Western Red Cedar (not Red Oak as previously reported). The pilasters, columns and cornices are also being restored and will soon be completed, ready for placement by the end of next month.

The retaining wall for the cast iron staircase was in fairly poor shape with the covering material seriously spaulding. That material was removed, the retaining wall excavated on each side and it was repointed and relaid where necessary. The front of the wall was mostly relaid, as were the top layers on the sides. This work is complete and ready for the installation of the restored cast iron stairs.

The work on the stairs is underway and should be completed in the next month.

Lamp posts and lamps for the stairs are also being fabricated according to period designs and will be installed after the staircase is in place.

The DC Office of Property Management and their sub-contactors, Worcester Eisenbrant, Inc. (windows, doors and pointing) and Restoration Concepts (south portico), along with BELLArchitects (site oversight), should be congratulated on the high standards they are setting on the work so far completed, for the restoration of the exterior.

This site is sponsored by the Friends of the Old Naval Hospital

Last updated November 14, 2008