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Restoration of the Old Naval Hospital

Update - September 20, 2006

Portico (and First Phase) Restoration Done - Open House On October 7, 2006

The first phase of the restoration of the Old Naval Hospital is now done! The last work on the portico is nearly complete and final painting is begun. The Friends have scheduled an open house to celebrate this milestone, on October 7 from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm so the community can have a chance to see close up, the wonderful work that has been completed. It will also give everyone a chance to meet the craftsmen who have done the work.

A special feature will be a demonstration and lecture by Malcolm Robson, a sixth generation wood grainer and faux painter, who will make a presentation during the open house, from 2:00 pm to 3:00 pm. Mr. Robson’s work can be seen on the newly restored doors of the Old Naval Hospital.

The portico work entailed a highly varied menu of work to be completed. The base for the balusters and the columns was fairly straightforward, but requiring very careful measurement and fitment. Completing the roof was work that was somewhat out of the ordinary. The curves and multiple levels were considerable and required special handling. It took several days and several levels of work to get the curved portions formed and in place.

The piece put in place was a rough work of art, but most of it will be not seen except in these photos since the facing and paint will cover most of the craftsmans efforts.

The overhead curvature of the portico was installed and placed so that the work on the rest of the portico roof could proceed. Most of this was restoration work with some new parts, mostly for the interior construction of the element.

Much the same can be said for the base of the balusters. As noted in previous articles, the work on the balusters mostly entailed restoration and repair, only a few of them had to be replaced.

The base for the balusters was mostly constructed anew from specifications that were derived from the original design. Most of the wood had deteriorated to such an extent that it was not feasible to restore. In other cases, the base had been previously reconstructed because of prior deterioration and was therefore not original anyway.

The construction was done to replicate the look of the original but with improvements which should assure a longer-lived base. Some of this was noted in previous articles. These elements were primed with high quality primers in preparation for their final coats of paint.

The column bases were also reconstructed to appear the same as the original. In the inside of the base however, there is a steel column supporting the column to give it a lot more strength and to avoid the sagging inherent in this kind of design. The steel support rests directly on the restored masonry below the portico floor, but is cleverly hidden.

This base then serves as a strong support for the columns which were almost entirely restored since little deterioration of the original columns occurred. They also were painted in a high quality primer, close to the original color, which will be applied with the final paint coat. The final look is totally authentic for the entire element.

The overall look of the portico is right back to the original building with the portico taking its place among all the rest of the restoration–cast iron stair, windows, doors and original paint colors.

The undergirding elements, not readily apparent, but detailed in previous articles, are the basis for this beautiful first stage of the restoration. The transformation of the Old Naval Hospital is now in sight and the reward awaiting the community if more than hinted at with this work completed.

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

Last updated November 14, 2008