Preservation Activities in Vermont

Planning your June weekends? We have lots of good stuff going on in Vermont throughout the next few weeks. Check it out:

1. VERMONT DAYS! This weekend, June 12 and 13: All Vermont State Parks and Historic Sites are FREE to the public. Visit Historic Vermont (click) and use the drop down menu for a list of sites. Also, click on the sidebar to choose houses, shipwrecks, presidential sites, or the Revolutionary War.  You can also visit the Vermont History Museum (click) for free! There are so many options, rainy weather or sunny weather. I hear the Calvin Coolidge Historic Site is one of the best.

2. Modernist Architecture Comes of Age: Preservation Meets Sustainability – Friday June 25, 2010. It is a symposium held in Burlington at the University of Vermont, “exploring the preservation of historic modernist buildings and how to rehabilitate them to be sustainable and functional in the 21st century.” The speakers are excellent, including the keynote speaker Christine Madrid French, who is the Director of the Modernism + Recent Past Program at the National Trust.  The cost for the full day is $100 for adults or $60 for students. Registration is open until June 18th. Come join us, it will be amazing!

3. Vermont History Expo 2010 – Saturday June 26 – Sunday June 27 in Tunbridge, VT. $10 for adults, $5 for students, 1/2 if you attend in period costume. There will history exhibits, a parade, an auction, music, entertainment, movies, food. It looks like a lot of fun. Read more here.

Show Vermont some love – get out and about!

Gold in Them Thar Hills: Part One

SIA 2010 Overview.

In order to not overwhelm one post with images, there will be three (or four) posts about Gold in Them Thar Hills.

Friday June 4 was the tour day of the conferences, of which I chose to attend “Gold in Them Thar Hills.” (Okay, the title got me hooked and it’s fun to say.) The tour bus departed Colorado Springs at 7:30am and headed up Highway 24 and Highway 67 to Cripple Creek, CO. The scenery on the way was spectacular: mountainous, green, vibrant brown rock, shrubs, and Pike’s Peak in site for much of the time. Oh, and we saw the world’s highest ferris wheel (highest as in elevation, not tallest).

The aforementioned world's highest ferris wheel.

Pike's Peak in the distance, somewhere around Divide, CO.

Our first stop was the Mollie Kathleen Mine in Cripple Creek, which is a family owned active gold mine in the winter months with tours open to the public in the warmer months.  The surface of the mine overlooks the town of Cripple Creek. At the mine visitors travel 1000′ (10 stories!) below the surface. Hard hats and closed-toe shoes are mandatory and warm jackets are recommended. To enter the mine, you have to squeeze into the mine shaft cage. The descent takes about two minutes during which time you cannot see your hand in front of your face. A guide takes about 8-9 people on each one hour tour, where the guide tells and shows the history of mining at different exhibits, demonstrating the tools and techniques used. It is such an interesting tour! On the surface there are cars, machines, mining cars and other vehicles to explore (not to mention an awesome giant hat). The views are also incredible.

Welcome to the Mollie Kathleen Gold Mine.

View from the Mollie Kathleen Gold Mine.

In the mine: miner's tools, railroad tracks, and the homemade rail bicycle (no brakes!)

In the mine!

Miner's hat!

Uniform bell signals were invented for all of the Colorado mines to insure safety and understanding when workers changed mining operations.

"View from the top of the world only 25 cents." This sign was just sitting on the ground, but I loved it.


Side note: This is post #500 on Preservation in Pink!

Preservation Photos #35

Dust blown, worn by the climate, and left to deteriorate at the American Eagles (abandoned) mine overlook near Victor, CO. One of my favorite pictures from the SIA tour.

Flamingo Celebrations!

Laurel, me, Elyse, Missy, Ali, Maria, Kerry - at Missy & Shane's wedding!

Two special flamingo announcements:

1. June 7 – Happy Birthday Kerry!! I hope you have a fantastic day. You are one of the best preservationists I know!

2. Congratulations to Missy & Shane, the newlyweds! We all had an amazing weekend in Virginia and wish you the absolute best.

Mary Washington flamingo tradition at weddings.

The tradition began in Thousand Island Park (see here and here).

SIA Conference

View of the Teller County, CO sky and Highway 67.

SIA report part 1: overview

Colorado Springs: June 3 – 6, 2010. What do you get when you combine archaeologists, engineers, physicists, preservationists, software programmers, and others? A cross-section of the attendees at the Society for Industrial Archeology conference. It’s a diverse group, some involved professionally and some only in terms of avocation (or perhaps obsession). Some are working in the field, a few of us are students, and some are retired and remain active members.

The SIA studies, protects, and advocates for the machines and the environment that has propelled the industry of our culture: power sources, functions, machinery, waterwheels, railroads, mining structures, geology. Perhaps an unlikely combination (preservationists and engineers are friends?!) but the strength of the SIA lies in its diversity of knowledge and expertise.

An SIA conference is different from others that I have attended in that there is only one day of papers and the other days are spent touring and studying the areas. In fact, a day of tours is included in the registration fee. Additional days of touring incur additional costs. Thursday and Sunday are such the case, but the Friday tours and Saturday papers are generally attended by all.  For those on a budget like myself, you will be happy to know that many meals are included: a welcoming reception, a breakfast, lunch on the tour, and the luncheon member business meeting. (The food was delicious, for anyone concerned.)

It’s a smaller group than organizations such as the National Trust, so it feels more personable. This was my first experience traveling alone to a conference where I didn’t know a soul. I spent the 2 1/2 days sitting at tables and on buses with strangers and meeting lots of interesting people. It’s probably something that I would not have done as an undergrad, but now (older and braver) the experience was very good. SIA members are friendly and welcoming and all have good stories to tell.  It didn’t take long to feel welcomed by the SIA veterans.  I am grateful for the friendliness and the conversation. (Side note: for any students interested in industrial archaeology, you should definitely join and get involved. Members are looking for young newbies!)

Paper sessions ranged from railroads to bridges to historic forts to waterwheels to iron structures to international industrial archaeology and so much more. I presented a paper on the Lake Champlain Bridge as a case study for preservation policy, and thoroughly enjoyed sharing it with conference attendees.

In addition to talking to people on tours and at meals, the paper sessions prove just how dedicated these members are to their research and interests. What I’ve learned about the SIA members is that they all want details and more details! They want to know, in full, how something operates and its history. And those who have been studying this for a while have an incredible bank of information. The SIA conference is definitely a wonderful place to meet people, to learn about the area you’re visiting, and to hear exciting research. It is truly one of the fun conferences.

Check back for SIA Tours (and pictures) Wednesday.

Industrial Archaeology in Colorado

These past few days here in Colorado Springs for the Society for Industrial Archaeology 2010 conference have been filled with mining culture and operations, mountain views, scenic roads, never-ending blue skies, and of course a wonderful day of paper sessions.

The expansive view from the Cripple Creek & Narrow Gauge Railroad.

Of course, we did talk about more than mining; I just happened to go on the mining tour. I couldn’t resist; it’s title was “Gold in Them Thar Hills.” That’s just a teaser for now. This is, too:

Again, how could I resist? I may have been the only to take a picture of this sign. You can't keep me away from the kitsch, but, yes there were burros at play (just not near the sign).

Sunday is a very long travel day for me with shuttles, layovers, and flight connections back to Vermont, so I’ll be preparing posts on the SIA conference experience – tours and beautiful Colorado pictures included.

A Life in the Trades: June 2010

Series introduction. October 2009. November 2009. December 2009. January 2010. February 2010. March 2010. April 2010. May 2010.

By Nicholas Bogosian

The Spring quarter is coming to a close and many of us are busy putting the final touches on a slew of school projects. This month I figured I’d just share some photos and let you in on some really exciting work students and I have been a part of in the last few weeks.

Field Lab: Wall Plastering

Field lab: wall plastering. Photo by Nicholas Bogosian.

Abbe Popescu applies the browncoat on the chimney wall of the Morristown House. Jon Smith, our field lab instructor, has done plaster work on major projects including Edith Wharton’s ‘The Mount.’ It was thrilling to watch him mix his ingredients and apply the plaster with such ease and fluid technique. Abbe quickly became the plaster queen and has also plastered another wall in the house.

Field Lab: Plaster Stabilization

Photo courtesy of Abbe Popescu.

Photo courtesy of Abbe Popescu.

Photo courtesy of Abbe Popescu.

Abbe and I endeavored on a plaster stabilization project under the stairs in the Morristown house as well. One section of the ceiling was missing a significant section of plaster. We were wanting to stabilize the remaining historic plaster and apply new plaster to the exposed hand-hewn lath. We chose the washer method where a metal washer is counter-sunk into the loose plaster with a screw to help hold the plaster firmly against the lath again. A more conservation-oriented method involves drilling holes in the existant plaster and injecting acrylic fills to bind the loose plaster to the lath again.

Paints & Clear Finishes

Photo by Nicholas Bogosian.

In my paints and clear finishes class I’ve been experimenting with creating different paints, stains, and “clear” finishes from “scratch.” A large part of this is just understanding the major characteristics of each and the varieties of components one can use in the final recipe list. All final experiments are displayed on wood sample pieces.

Of the many historic paint finishes I experimented with, egg tempera was one:

Egg tempera. Photo by Nicholas Bogosian.

Plaster: Medallion

Molding tooth. Photo by Nicholas Bogosian.

In Plaster class, the creation of my medallion continues. Most all of the aplique has been cast. Now that I’ve made my tin tooth, I can now begin the process of running my medallion base. Once all aplique has been set, I can prime and paint.

Field Lab: Timber Framing.

Photo by Nicholas Bogosian.

Photo by Abbe Popescu.

Photo by Nicholas Bogosian.

The basement at the Morristown House has been supported for a while now with shoring devices until we were able to re-build the timber brace supports. This morning we worked on creating mortise and tenons and fitting the final pieces together. All final pieces are fastened with treenails.

In other news, I’ve begun the planning stages for my project in Advanced Material Sciences class. We can choose any material we want and design an intensive preservation project based around it. I’m interested in wood conservation, specifically the conservation of early framing styles. Jon Smith, our field lab instructor is a timber framing and covered bridge aficionado and he told me about a local Farmstead with some really amazing (no, TRULY amazing) old timber construction.We went and looked at it, and it was one of the most amazing experiences I’ve had since I’ve been here in Ohio. Floyd, the current owner of the farmstead talked to me for at least an hour and seemed to have such a deep connection with the place and with what it represented of early rural vernacular life. It’s still an operating farm and a popular site on the Drover’s Trail. It’s called the Kinney Farm and dates to the 1860s.

I’m still in the process of learning more about it, but there are currently five structures on the property all on the National Register. With Jon’s guidance, I’m going to document the Carriage house on the property (which is falling into quick disrepair) and repair the rotted sills and any other timber conservation needed. I am excited because this will involve some structural shoring techniques which I have yet to have any experience with. It will also be great because we will be dealing with early American building techniques/joinery/tools – all for a Nationally Registered structure! Can’t wait to share the experience with you PiP readers.

Preservation Photos #34

At Longfellow’s Wayside Inn in Sudbury, MA, the Redstone School moved by Henry Ford because of its significance with the girl Mary of the poem, Mary Had a Little Lamb.