The effort to save and restore the first stone manor built in California has taken some major steps forward.
Last week a layer of construction foam was applied to help stabilize the walls of the Stone House built by pioneer John Marsh in 1856 in what is now Marsh Creek State Park in East Contra Costa County. The foam, applied to the interior of the walls so as not to affect the building’s unique Gothic Revival style, adds strength and support to the rubblework construction of the 159-year-old building.
This week, State Parks’ Direct Construction Unit is drilling through the foam and into the backs of the stones to install tie-rod bolts. In the coming weeks, the bolts will be fastened to a steel-stud framework set in a concrete foundation to be poured alongside the original, sandstone underpinning.
The work is part of a $750,000 stabilization project that has been steadily making progress since February, and should be completed this summer. More work will be needed before the house can be opened to the public, and the Trust is trying to get as much of it funded as possible while crews are on site. “We’ll get things done a lot more affordably now than if we have to pay to mobilize crews again in the future,” said Trust Executive Director Rick Lemyre.
“We’d like to install more tie-rods now, and there will be more architectural and engineering fees to pay as well,” Lemyre said. “But this step means that small outfalls of rock that have deteriorated the house’s stability will no longer happen. Once the studs and tie-bolts are in place, it will be a big help in resisting damage from wind, rain and earthquakes, too.”
The project reached another milestone when State Parks, which is managing the project, expended the last of a $200,000 grant from the California Cultural and Historical Endowment (CCHE). Construction delays had threatened the grant, the spending deadline for which had twice been extended since it was awarded in 2012. The last of the CCHE money was spent with a week to spare.
Other project funding includes $350,000 from thousands of individual donations to the Trust, and $205,000 from State Parks.
The Trust is looking for new members on its Board of Directors to help expand on recent progress. It’s also seeking donations for operations as activity increases.
“A lot is happening right now, and we want to keep the momentum going,” Lemyre said.
Tax-deductible credit card donations can be made by clicking on the PayPal button on this site. You do not have to be a PayPal member to donate. The Trust is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.
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