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Grant success keeps Trust on a roll

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CSPFThe Trust got word this week that it has been awarded a pair of grants to help fund its Annual Heritage Day event and support operations.

On Wednesday, the S. H. Cowell Foundation announced that it had approved a $10,000 matching grant for operations. The Trust has begun a fundraising drive to raise the $10,000 needed to match Cowell’s gift.

The news comes on the heels of a Brentwood City Council vote Tuesday to provide a $3,000 Economic Development grant to help pay for the Stone House Heritage Day at Marsh Creek State Park, co-presented by the Trust and California State Parks on Oct. 17.

“This is great news, real momentum-builders,” said Trust Vice President Kathy Leighton. “Our stabilization project is moving along, and we’re getting the backing of some important organizations to keep going. We’re hoping others will jump on board and help keep things rolling.”

Work continues on the $750,000 project to stabilize the fragile sandstone walls of Marsh’s 159-year-old house near Brentwood. The house is part of the Marsh Creek State Park, a 3,700-acre historic park that has yet to open to the public.

“The only way we’ll be able to get that park open is if we get the support of the public,” Leighton said. “We have to let them know about the possibilities, not only in the historic structure, but the trails, campgrounds and cultural history that will be out there to enjoy. Once enough people are behind it, we’re confident we can help bring it on line.”

The new grants add to other recent funding successes the Trust has enjoyed. In April the Mt. Diablo Chapter of The Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) funded the creation of interpretive panels for Heritage Day at Marsh Creek State Park on Oct. 17, and other public presentations and events.

In February, California State Parks Foundation provided a grant to help manage and communicate with volunteers, partners and donors.

“Everyone knows it’s better to keep momentum than to start from scratch, and that’s what we’re about now,” said Executive Director Rick Lemyre. “We’ll keep looking for grants, and hope people will continue to donate so we can match them and keep rolling.”

Donations can be made through the PayPal link at the top of this page. The Trust is a 501(c)3 non-profit, so donations are tax-deductible. You do not have to have a PayPal account to donate.

The DAR supports projects in local communities which promote historic preservation, education and patriotism. Interested groups must be sponsored by a local DAR chapter. Contact the Mt. Diablo Chapter, National Society Daughters of the American in Danville, CA, at  www.dar-mtdiablochapter.org. For more about the DAR grant program, click www.dar.org/grants.

 

Milestones reached at Marsh House

 

Henry Estorga of State Parks’ Direct Construction Unit drills through recently installed construction foam that is helping to stabilize John Marsh’s Stone House in the Marsh Creek State Park.

Henry Estorga of State Parks’ Direct Construction Unit drills through recently installed construction foam that is helping to stabilize John Marsh’s Stone House in the Marsh Creek State Park.

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.

Click to enlarge additional photos below:

The construction foam is seen on the building's west wall, next to the stairs from the second floor to the third. Photo by Rick Lemyre the pins mark locations where holes will be drilled to install tie-rods. Photo by Rick Lemyre

The construction foam is seen on the building’s west wall, next to the stairs from the second floor to the third. Photo by Rick Lemyre the pins mark locations where holes will be drilled to install tie-rods. Photo by Rick Lemyre

 

Tie-rods have been placed in holes drilled into this first-floor wall on the building's west side. The rods will be expoxied into the the exterior stones, then attached to new steel studs to be installed in the coming weeks. Photo by Rick Lemyre

Tie-rods have been placed in holes drilled into this first-floor wall on the building’s west side. The rods will be expoxied into the the exterior stones, then attached to new steel studs to be installed in the coming weeks. Photo by Rick Lemyre

The east wall of the first-floor parlor after receiving a thick layer of construction foam to help stabilize it. Photo by Rick Lemyre

The east wall of the first-floor parlor after receiving a thick layer of construction foam to help stabilize it. Photo by Rick Lemyre

The first-floor parlor wall prior to the foam installation shows the rubblework masonry construction used on many old buildings. Photo by Rick Lemyre

The first-floor parlor wall prior to the foam installation shows the rubblework masonry construction used on many old buildings. Photo by Rick Lemyre