Edgar Allen Poe House Museum

Built in 1830, the quaint building at 203 North Amity St. in Baltimore, Maryland once housed the famous writer Edgar Allan Poe.  His aunt, Maria Clemm, first rented the home in 1832 and lived with her daughter, Virginia, and her mother, Elizabeth Cairnes Poe.  Edgar Allan Poe moved in with his family one year later.  In 1835, Poe moved out of this house to move to Richmond, Virginia.  He had started his career with writing poetry, but it created little success for the author.  It wasn’t until he moved to Baltimore that he began to write his famous short stories.

DRC Mid-Atlantic recently finished up the exterior historic preservation maintenance work at the Edgar Allan Poe historic house in Baltimore. The scope of work for this project included masonry spot pointing throughout, wood repair and replacement, and a new coat of paint on exterior elements. We also installed a downspout on a gutter that had never had one! (you can imagine the damage that that’s been causing…)

Durable crews worked tirelessly to meet an unexpected late January deadline when we found out that the house was to be accepted on the United for Library‘s national registry of literary landmarks, the first such designation in all of Maryland! The building looked spectacular for its celebration on January 19th 2020, which was also Poe’s 211th Birthday.

Update: One year later, almost to the day, The Durable Restoration Company returned to the Edgar Allen Poe House Museum to repair deteriorated masonry in the basement. Years ago, a blocked gutterline had caused a flood, damaging the masonry. As before, repairs will be completed in time for Edgar Allen Poe's birthday, January 19th 2021.

David's United Church of Christ, Canal Winchester, OH

The Durable Restoration Company is undertaking extensive historic restoration of the steeple and bell tower at David’s United Church of Christ in Canal Winchester. The Gothic Revival style church was built in 1881 and added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1989. Due to the height of the steeple, it was unknown for years that there was interior damage to both the steeple and bell tower. It wasn’t until an inspection was done that it was determined restoration was needed. According to Durable’s restoration expert Brad Brobeck, the metal roof of the historic church began to deteriorate and allow moisture infiltration within the bell tower, causing over saturation of the interior brick. This then caused the mortar of the brick to deteriorate eventually leading to the collapse of an interior brick wall and causing damage to the wooden bell tower floor.

The three month restoration project includes a multitude of repairs to bring back the historic integrity of the bell tower and steeple. The main focus of the steeple is to replace all existing architectural metal work. Restoring the metal with hand soldered copper is historically accurate and will make maintenance easier in the future. The church’s finial was removed and will be replicated by our coppersmiths. Within the bell tower, Durable Restoration is restoring the wooden floor and rebuilding the interior brick wall by reusing the existing clay brick and laying it in hydraulic-lime mortar. The slate roof has proven its durability and does not require replacement at this time, instead minor slate repairs will be performed to allow the steeple roof to last another hundred years. The importance of this project is to preserve this structure for many more generations. The correct way to do this is to restore the structure correctly with old-world craft and long-term natural building material.

Jean Lafitte National Park & Preserve

MARRERO, LA

Masons removed displaced brick above the center arch, and then they installed stainless steel rods to strengthen the area. Salvaged brick was then reinstalled in the damaged area. Matching mortar was then injected within the mortar joints.

Marshall Arch, Marshall, IN

Structural stabilization of the arch and wood replacement to the water-damaged area, connected to one of the concrete columns. The rotted deck boards were replaced with kind lumber.

Belmont County Victorian Museum

BARNESVILLE, OH

Durable Restoration craftsmen built a wrap-around porch for the Belmont County Victorian Museum. The project also included the installation of a box gutter, downspouts and new metal wall flashing.

St. Andrews Roman Catholic Church

Roanoke, Virginia

The St. Andrew’s Catholic Church Steeple/Masonry Restoration Project took place in Roanoke, Virginia. Construction began on March 23rd, 2014, and ended on December 5th, 2014. The principal features were 2 steeples clad in ornamental copper and slate. The approximate cost was $2,400,000 and covered around 2,000 Sq. ft. (the steeples).

One of the main goals of this project was the repair, restoration, and preservation of the historic twin spires of the 118-year-old St. Andrew’s Catholic Church. The structure includes an east and a west steeple. Each steeple consists of a square masonry tower containing a belfry, and a wood framed slate and copper covered steeple towering above the belfry. Combined, St. Andrews stands a mighty 175 feet. 

A detailed assessment of the interior and exterior of both steeples was performed and confirmed that both steeples had significant structural deterioration. In addition, both steeples were out of plumb by approximately 10-12 inches at the top of the steeple. A subsequent evaluation determined that the top of the east steeple had drifted and additional 3/8 inch over a 6 month period. Insect damage was also found, although the full extent could not be determined. Based upon these results (both the insect damage and difficulty in re-aligning the steeples), the decision was made to replace the two wood framed steeples with new steel framed steeples and to restore both masonry towers. Steel was used to avoid the risk of future damage from termites and other insects. It should be noted that during this process the 2 steeples were removed and replaced simultaneously. Except for the steel frame, the project was the faithful copy, reproduction, and restoration of the original 1902 architectural design for the two steeples.

In 2020, we also restored the center spire with new 20oz copper.  For this phase of the restoration process, the spire as a whole was cut loose of the existing framing and craned to the ground.  Once safely secured on the ground, the crew began taking the old copper off and replacing it with newly fabricated pieces.  The copper detail work on the spire was replicated throughout the roof to match how it originally looked.  Each piece was individually custom fabricated and hand soldered in place to ensure a water tight fit. Our team carefully removed each piece of copper and cataloged them in relation to where they were removed from on the spire and roof. Each new piece was then replicated in the exact size and shape as the original by hand. Most pieces were then hand soldered together for strength and water tightness.  As a result, the restored spire has the same quality and workmanship as the original that was installed back in the early 1900s.  After the copper was installed, the spire was carefully lifted back into place with a crane onto St. Andrew’s newly restored roof. 

915 East High Street, Springfield, OH

The historic Diamond House was constructed in the late 1880s. The project restored classic traits of the Queen Anne style, such as multiple gables, turrets, wrap-around porches, and decorative siding shapes.

This project involved a complete “roof down” restoration of this classic home. We corrected structural problems and physical alterations to the original construction in order to restore the home to its original period style.

Hotel St. Clair

COLUMBUS, OHIO

This historic building was virtually abandonded for decades, and was recently restored with financial help from historic tax credits and grants. This financing required all repairs to match the existing architectural details or to be recreated from historic photographs.

Originally built in 1910 as the St. Clair Hospital, the building was later converted into a hotel that served predominantly African-Americans, including many nationally renowned musical acts.  Today, this beautifully restored building functions as senior housing.

Porcher House

COCOA, FLORIDA

Built in 1916, the historic Porcher House in Cocoa, Florida, is an excellent example of twentieth century classical revival architecture, adapted to the Florida climate.  Built by Edward Porcher, a pioneer in the Florida citrus industry, the ten bedroom house is composed of native coquina rock, and finished in the interior with teak, oak, and cedar.  In the 1950’s, the city of Cocoa obtained the house from the Porcher family and turned it into the City Hall.

With the assistance of state grants and city funding, we performed extensive renovations to this house including:

Heritage Park Log House

Once a private residence on Main Street in Groveport, Ohio, the historic log home was saved by the Groveport Heritage Society and relocated to Heritage Park to make way for a new post office building. Originally, there were two separate buildings; the larger building was constructed in 1815, the smaller in 1825. The restored log house is a source of pride for the community, and is used for a variety of public and private events. Durable Restoration’s foreman was awarded the 2006 Builder’s Exchange Craftsmanship Award for this project.

Repairs to the deteriorated logs were completed both inside and outside the structure using wood epoxy. The logs walls were reinforced to correct separation between the structures. A  new hand-split cedar shake roof was also installed.

Durable Restoration also completed other aspects of this project including: