Pop Quiz Round-Up

Someone get a lasso, because these pop quizzes are out of control without answers. Let’s review, shall we? Some of these have correct answers in the comments already, but I’ll include them here for the purpose of the round-up.  And some could remain in discussion for a while – it would certainly give us cause for field trips and discussions.

(1) Pop Quiz: December 12, 2012 – What is this? 


Answer: Wallpaper in a foyer (of the house of a fellow preservationist). This wallpaper covered the entire entry and stairway. It was a bit blinding, as you can imagine. But also incredibly neat. Her compromise? Leave one wall. The date is unknown, but the 1960s or 1970s would seem accurate and it is definitely metallic flocked wallpaper.

(2) Pop Quiz – January 21, 2013 – What is that grooved wood? 

Answer: Novelty siding, which was popular in the early 20th century. This house was built in the 1930s, which fits with the time frame. And it’s exciting to know that it still exists on some parts of the house.

(3) Pop Quiz – April 1, 2013 – Name this object. 

Answer: A boot scraper that remains on the streets of Fredericksburg, VA.

(4) Pop Quiz – April 10, 2013 – Name this object. 

Answer: This is a survey tool for measuring distances, but specifically for railroads; it fits on the railroad track. These are the sorts of things found when the Agency of Transportation cleans house!

(5) Pop Quiz – May 2, 2013 – Name that window type. 

Answer: This is the one everyone has been waiting for, and I hate to disappoint, but I still don’t have the exact answer. Such is the story with architectural history sometimes. The facade of this barn has obviously been heavily altered, with only a hay door remaining of its original fenestration. My instinct says it is not original to the building. I think I’ll have to get the State Architectural Historian to answer this one.  This is located in Wallingford, VT.

(6) Pop Quiz – June 20, 2013 – Which windows are original? 

Answer: The comments are varied, but generally agree that the picture windows are ca. 1950 and a later alteration. The screen door would match the time period of the picture windows. The part that throws me a curve ball is that the windows on either side of the picture windows have muntins that match the color and style of those on the sunroom.  The roofline has been extended over the sunroom, which was possibly just a flat roof extension from the main block of the house. The window above the door is a replacement, which you can read from the two latches/locks. If it helps, this house is in the village of East Burke, VT. My thoughts: the picture windows and the sunroom windows were added at the same time, replacing more traditional fenestration. The window in the gable was a more recent replacement. Do you agree?

(7) Pop Quiz – July 17, 2013 – What is going on in this photo? 

Answer: Blown in cellulose insulation. You can see this easily in colder climates. It’s easier to have it done from the exterior rather than the interior (which would leave plaster to repair, or holes in your drywall). Once you see these, it’s hard to miss. As far as the diamond pattern goes, good eye! Though I don’t know.

Thanks, everyone, for playing these quizzes. The mystery quizzes remain the Wallingford and the East Burke, which are coincidentally both window questions. We’d need to get up close and personal with the building to solve these. As many of us know, we can only determine so much from a street side (or windshield) survey.  Feel free to keep guessing and if I find more to the answers, I’ll share.


Preservation Photos #192

The Taftsville Covered Bridge undergoing rehabilitation.

The Taftsville Covered Bridge undergoing rehabilitation.

Yes, there is actually a bridge under all of that falsework. Remember what it looked like un-covered? Take note of the new roof. You can see the arch on the right, in between the blue scaffolding.

Sunday Snapshots for Summer #8

There's nowhere I'd rather be than running into the ocean with my three sisters.

There’s nowhere I’d rather be than running into the ocean with my three sisters. Where is your ideal summer day? 

Boston’s Waterworks Museum

What are three preservationists to do on a sweltering hot summer afternoon in Boston, MA? Even we have our limits for strolling the row house lined streets. When we could bear the heat no longer, we headed out to Chestnut Hill, just past Brookline to the (relatively) new Waterworks Museum, located at the original Chestnut Hill Reservoir and pumping station.

The Chestnut Hill Reservoir and pumping station was constructed following the realization that poor water quality was related to the spread of disease, and the fact that Boston had an inadequate water supply for its ever-growing population. The 1880s is the era of Boston’s golden age, filled with great industry, financiers, and philanthropists. With this came impressive architecture and many benefits for the public, such as this Chestnut Hill Reservoir. This station operated until 1976. The building has now been rehabilitated into a museum and event space, with adjacent buildings rehabilitated to condominiums.

The Waterworks Museum, designed by Arthur Vinal (1886) with an addition by Edmund Wheelwright in 1897.

The Waterworks Museum, designed by Arthur Vinal (1886) with an addition by Edmund Wheelwright in 1897. It shows obvious influence by Henry Hobson Richardson.

For a better photo of the entire building, see here.

Building plaque.

Building plaque.

Another view of the exterior.

Another view of the exterior.

The pumping station chimney. Look at the detail.

The  interior of the museum doesn’t feel like your typical museum. Interpretive panels, computer animated images, and artifacts guide you through the building, if you choose. Or you can work in your own flow or talk to one of the volunteers who is happy to explain how the engines work. However, the experience is about these giant machines, which stand (but do not operate) in their original location. The building is not the backdrop; it is the museum. Whether you’re a preservationist, a historian, an engineer, an architect, or someone interested in local history, the museum does a good job of offering something for everyone. The themes of this museum are public health, architecture, engineering, and social history. Here are a few interior photographs from my visit.

The heart of the museum is the Great Engines Hall.

The heart of the museum is the Great Engines Hall.

Inside the Great Engines Hall.

Inside the Great Engines Hall.

The building is a beautiful structure, filled with brass, mahogany, pine and no spec of detail overlooked.

The building is a beautiful structure, filled with brass, mahogany, pine and no spec of detail overlooked.

The Worthington steam engine.

The Worthington steam engine, one of the three in the building.

View from the overlook gallery.

View from the overlook gallery. Through the arches is the building addition.

It’s a fascinating building and a great lesson in urban and engineering history. And on a hot summer day, you can truly appreciate the technological advances of clean, fresh water. The museum is free, but donations are appreciated. Can’t get to Boston? Take a virtual tour and read the history sections on the museum website. (For any UVM HP alum – yes, this did feel like a History on the Land class with Bob McCullough! And anyone in the SIA – this is totally up your alley.)

Preservation Photos #191


Coolidge Corner in Brookline, MA. And do you see that? A chain drug store in a historic building? One of the few instances I’ve seen, but it’s nice to know that they exist.

Preservation Solution? Reversible Exterior Window Shades?

What do you do in the dog days of summer? Hide from the sun, of course. Remember the end of the school year during review and finals when classrooms would be sweltering? Large pull down shades could help control the temperature and industrial size fans, but it was still hot.

Quite often when historic school buildings are renovated for modern use, the ceilings are dropped and windows altered in order to provide better climate control. So, what would you think if you saw this building?

Black River High School in Ludlow, VT

At first glance it looks like the upper sash of these windows have been blocked, presumably because ceilings are lowered. Black River High School in Ludlow, VT

Every window has the same alteration.

Every window has the same alteration.

Closer viewing.

Closer viewing.

Another angle for inspection.

Another angle for inspection.

Except, the material seems to just be pinned or screwed in from the outside. And in fact, that’s just what they are. After peering into a window, it was evident that the ceilings had not been dropped and the upper sashes remained.

Closer view.

Closer view.

Interesting, yes? The questions I’d ask is (1) Why on the outside, rather than the inside, as the facade is drastically altered still; (2) How long ago were these installed?; (3) How easy can they be removed?; (4) Is the purpose for climate control?

What do you think? Is this a good preservation solution? If it’s completely removable and reversible, does that change your mind? Does this have the same effect on the exterior that dropping the ceilings has on the interior?

And for more imagery fun, if you haven’t seen the new instagram account @preservationfail, check it out. Would you call this a preservation fail?

Sunday Snapshots for Summer #6

The new dock at Chimney Point, VT.

The new dock at Chimney Point, VT on Lake Champlain, VT. 

Whether a fisherman, boater, or someone who loves the water, who doesn’t enjoy a nice, long dock out onto the lake?