March 4 Update: Ready to roll
A decades-long battle to save a California pioneer’s home is teetering on the brink of success.
For more than 20 years, President Gene Metz has led the John Marsh Historic Trust’s struggle to save the house built in 1856 by Dr. John Marsh, an important yet little-known force in America’s great westward migration.
“After all these years, I’ll finally be able to say ‘the Stone House will not fall down,’” Metz said on the eve of a $855,000 project that will finally fix the problem. “I have great joy, but also great concerns about the costs.”
Marsh’s 7,000-square-foot house stands tenuously along Marsh Creek south of Brentwood, its sandstone walls hammered by weather, vandals and gravity for 157 years, and just one big storm or small earthquake from collapsing.
More than $1 million in emergency repairs have been made over the years to keep the house standing, major help coming from the California Cultural Historic Endowment (CCHE), the City of Brentwood and the California Department of Parks and Recreation. The house is slated to become the centerpiece of the newly designated 3,700-acre Marsh Creek State Historic Park that surrounds it. The site is also an archeological treasure, harboring artifacts from human activity 7,000 years ago.
The fix uses a unique method of running steel studs behind the sandstone walls and into a new foundation. A thick layer of construction foam similar to that used in roofing will be applied to provide structural strength and serve as an epoxy to bind the stones together, permanently preventing collapse. The next step, Metz said, will tie the stabilized rock/foam/steel structure to the house’s interior support system. Read More →