The George Widrick House

Built circa 1795, The George Widrick House retains much of its contributing federal design elements. The Durable Restoration Company will be selectively repointing the exterior masonry with historically appropriate, custom matched lime based mortar, rebuilding the exposed portions of the chimneys, repairing the wood elements on the exterior of the building along with selective treatments of the doors and windows, installing new gutters and downspouts, and recoating the metal roof to create a more weather resistant exterior envelope.

All aspects of this restoration will be guided by the Secretary of Interior Standards for Historic Preservation and NPS Preservation Briefs.

This restoration work will give the farmhouse many more years of life and allow for further restoration of the interior surfaces. By using appropriate restoration methods, we will ensure that not only does the deterioration slow but that our methods and materials do not harm the historic fabric of the building. The Durable Restoration Company looks forward to being a part of the ongoing preservation of this important Frederick County Cultural resource.

Hampton Farmhouse

The farmhouse at Hampton mansion dates to the 1700s and is undergoing a much needed historic restoration that will include historic methods and materials. These preservation efforts include replacing the cedar shake roof with an in-kind replacement; repairing and preserving the upper floor windows, trim, and dormers; and, finally, repairing and resetting the upper belltower. Together, these repairs will stop water from infiltrating the roof, helping to preserve the structure for years to come. And because this work will be in keeping with historic preservation standards, the historic authenticity of the building will remain intact for future generations to discover and enjoy.

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Removing the Cupola

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Fort Lincoln Cemetery

Fort Lincoln Cemetery has ties with historic military events, including the War of 1812 and the Civil War.  During the War of 1812, Commodore Joshua Barney led a valiant holding action during the Battle of Bladensburg, against British troops intent on burning the nation's capital. During this battle, for the first time in the nation's history, the president, members of his cabinet, and other high-ranking government officials were on the field directing troop movements. In addition, the remains of Battery Jameson, a link in the Union defenses built to protect the capital city from attack by the Confederacy, fell within the cemetery grounds. Records show that President Abraham Lincoln met there with high-ranking officers of the army to discuss strategy.

Although not officially established until 1921, Fort Lincoln Cemetery is known for its design and architecture.  A staggering 178.4 acres, it is divided into a series of garden rooms with its graves sitting upon rolling hills.  Besides historic plaster work on the Cloister Sanctuary and Little Chapel, The Durable Restoration Company will be restoring the cemetery's magnificent mahogany doors.  The Battery Jameson's undercarriage and the Liberty Bell's headworks will both be historically replicated and replaced.

Our sister organization, The Durable Slate Company, will repair Fort Lincoln Cemetery's clay tile roof.

Hope Connections for Cancer Support

Hope Connections for Cancer Support is a Bethesda nonprofit organization. It provides support groups and mind-body classes for cancer patients.  They were founded in the early 2000s by Bonnie and Bernie Kogod where they started the Michele Susan Kogod Fund to honor the daughter they had lost to cancer.  Paula Rothenberg joined as their president in 2004 and together, they created a space where people affected by cancer could come together to support and connect with each other.  In 2020, they purchased the historic Grosvenor Mansion that allows a beautiful space and an abundance of room for their programs.

Grosvenor Mansion was designed by master architect Arthur Berthrong Heaton and constructed in 1928 by Gilbert Grosvenor, founder of the National Geographic Society. He lived there with his wife, Elsie May Bell Grosvenor - daughter of Alexander Graham Bell - for 40 years. The mansion is an impressively large Tudor Revival manor house, with distinctively asymmetrical sections intended to reflect earlier and later styles; timber and stucco on the east end and rubblestone on the west.

The Durable Restoration Company will help transform the Grosvenor Mansion into the new Hope Connections center.  Our scope of work includes slate roof repair, stone façade repair, and exterior carpentry repair to the facility.

Photographs from the Montgomery County Historical Society Collection, Rockville, MD. Architectural drawings from Library of Congress, Arthur B. Heaton Collection, ADE Units 965 and 966.

Historical Photographs

Architectural Drawings

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Takoma Park Presbyterian Church

Only a few years after Takoma Park, MD, was founded, Benjamin Franklin Gilbert donated land for the original Takoma Park church building. Several years later, this tiny congregation was beset by financial hardship and local Presbyterians took over the mortgage and ministry. By 1922, the congregation had moved their growing church down road to the stone building pictured below. Over a century later, Takoma Park Presbyterian strives to be a place of inclusion and social justice. But their roof has sprung a bit of a leak.

For this project, The Durable Slate Company will be replacing the church's slate sanctuary roof. Once complete, The Durable Restoration Company will restore the stone's exterior using historically appropriate mortar, preventing any further water infiltration, restoring the building's magnificent exterior - and interior - for another century of community service.

Evangelical Lutheran, Frederick, MD

The Durable Restoration Company is undertaking a full exterior restoration of the front façade and two steeples of the Evangelical Lutheran Church.

This restoration work is due to the deterioration of the exterior façade coating and stucco along with the brownstone details and metal components of the building including the finials on both steeples and the front lower metal roof which has been allowing water infiltration. We are very much looking forward to helping the evangelical church as stewards of this building preserve the structure and give it a life for generations to come. Durable Restoration will be undertaking this project utilizing all Secretary of Interior Standards for Historic Preservation along with appropriate preservation methods and materials.

Specifically we will be scraping and washing the existing façade, recoating it with a vapor permeable mineral coating which will allow the masonry to breathe and function as it is meant to while protecting it from weather and the elements. We will be craning down both finials and replacing them in kind. We will be repairing and repainting all of the wood details, windows and louvers on the front façade and repairing the handicap ramp. This functional facelift will give the building many more years of life than currently faces today. By using appropriate restoration methods, we will ensure that not only does the deterioration halt but also that our methods and materials do not bring any harm to the historic fabric of the building. Durable looks forward to being a part of the ongoing preservation of the iconic Frederick Twin spires.

Learn more about Evangelical Lutheran Church's new capital campaign, Preserving the Past, Building Our Future, via their website.

Julie Butler, Preservation Director for DRC: Mid-Atlantic, takes us on a historical tour of Evangelical Lutheran, Frederick, Maryland. Built in the late 1700s, Evangelical Lutheran has been a community mainstay, and even served as a hospital during the Civil War. It is presently undergoing plaster repair throughout and masonry repair within its steeples.

We are applying 24k gold leaf to the copper finals before installing them at Evangelical Lutheran.

Information

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88 State Circle

88 State Circle was built during a time of economic turmoil and is an unusually well constructed, late 19th century building with numerous fine and expensive details.

To restore 88 State Circle's historic brick façade, we used Arbortech's plunge tool to remove the improper Portland Cement. Grinders can cut too easily and might injure the historic brick. The Portland Cement was replaced with a more durable and historically appropriate lime mortar. Eroded bricks were carefully patched to match the original brick's color and texture.

A small but important detail, we cut the mortar's joint profile - the sealed space connecting each brick - to match the original historic bricks. This was an important feature of the original façade and well worth preserving. A mortar joint allows water to shed away and can be an attractive part of the wall's design, drawing the eye to the brick or mortar as desired.

Below, please find historical images of 88 State Circle, as well as a brief talk with Julie Butler, DRC Mid-Atlantic Preservation Director, on the difference between lime mortar and Portland Cement, how water can damage a brick edifice, and the steps we take to carefully restore historic brick surfaces.

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.

Baltimore City Hall

Built between 1867 and 1875, Baltimore City Hall is the first structure in Baltimore that was designated as a city landmark.  This city hall is an impressive building, covering an entire city block.  The structure was inspired by the French Second Empire architecture with its twin wings and dome.  The dome that sits upon Baltimore City Hall was designed by Wendell Bollman and was made by the same firm that created the United States’ Capital dome. 

For this project, The Durable Slate Company was called in to perform gutter repair around the perimeter of the building. 

The Flag House

BALTIMORE, MD

Located in eastern downtown Baltimore, MD, near Little Italy and Old Town, sits a small brick house on East Pratt Street, the Flag House, wherein Mary Young Pickersgill made America’s first Star-Spangled Banner. Mounted above Fort McHenry’s ramparts during the War of 1812, it survived British rockets and inspired Francis Scott Key to write our National Anthem.

More recently, The Flag House‘s garden wall and fencing assemblies met with a car, ruining a portion of the fence and damaging the historic brick. The Durable Restoration Company is replacing each injured brick with historically accurate alternatives. Matching the size, texture, and color of the bricks will produce a seamless and lasting repair. As for the fence, we are fabricating a custom replacement that precisely matches the existing columns.