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Restoration of the Old Naval Hospital

Update - May 20, 2006

Cast Iron Stair Restoration Well Underway

The work on the cast iron stairway from the south facade was dismantled in April and taken to the Craftsman Iron foundry and workshop on Brentwood Ave. to undertake the full restoration of the piece(s).

This work, as with the other work, is being monitored by the supervising architects, BELLArchitects for conformance to restoration practices as well as for the pieces which have to be re-manufactured and repaired. Craftsman Iron has extensive experience in restoration of cast iron.

Some of the major pieces supporting the stair have been damaged and are in need of significant repair. There are modern techniques that allow such repairs to be made successfully without having to sacrifice or compromise the original piece.

Many of the riser panels were intact, but others were cracked or just broken These were carefully dismantled and recorded so that they could be reinstalled after restoration and/or repair.

Each cast iron piece will be thoroughly cleaned, repaired (if needed) and primed, to make it ready for reassembly. Some isolated pieces will need to be re-fabricated where they are missing or too damaged to repair. The final product of this stage of the stairway restoration will be white primed elements.

Some of the non-stair pieces are also being fully restored using the same basic methods. These poles formed the bottom anchor of the cast iron railings. There are several of the auxiliary pieces being done.

Beyond that, some pieces, such at the lights, will be completely manufactured since they have long disappeared. For such pieces, historical research has been completed and period pieces are being manufactured for the installation. This is being done under the supervision of the architects, by a specialty company in New York State. In the case of the lights, no photograph has been found with the lights in it, dating earlier than 1901, so a period light was developed through careful research for this. Also, instead of the original gas fueled light, the replacement will be an electric fixture, which will look like a gaslight.

Reinstallation of the staircase has already begun with completion forecast for the beginning of June. The complete stairwell, including lights and other accouterments will not be completed until at least mid-June.

A last note: The Friends of the Old Naval Hospital is hosting an open house on the grounds of the Old Naval Hospital on Saturday, June 17 from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm where the craftsmen, architects and the Office of Property Management staff will be available to show you the restorations and answer questions about the techniques and methods used in the various kinds of restoration, as well as offer some insight as to where things will go from here. All are invited.

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

Last updated November 15, 2008