Events

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Preservation Success Story: Town Hall Restoration Proceeds



(a very few of) Your Tax Dollars at (very productive) Work:




































August 2007:
Townspeople were so picky about building a Town Hall in 1889 that it prompted this observation in an 1890 edition of the former Amherst Record: 'We should bear in mind the fact that the architect of the Cathedral at Milan, backed by the wealth of the universe, could not have designed a village horse-shed that would meet with universal favor at the hands of the citizens of Amherst.'
Not for naught was their vigilance: The Amherst Town Hall, designed by famed architect H.S. McKay of Boston, and constructed in the Richardson Romanesque style, has held up well over the years.

'People have walked in and asked what kind of a church this is,' said Jonathan Tucker, the town's planning director.

It is time to 'repoint' the masonry, though, a $457,000 project that is expected to take about six months and caps the $3.2 million in renovations undertaken in 1997. (more)
Amherst Town Meeting appropriated Community Preservation Act (CPA) funds from the historic preservation rubric of the budget for repairs to one of the exterior stairways and the clock tower, as well as debt service on overall masonry repairs of the Amherst Town Hall. Work began last summer and resumed with the return of clement weather this year.

The architectural consultant explains that "The masonry was first cleaned with "material-sensitive chemicals that are neutralized by agricultural lime prior to effluent from washing entering the soil."

The mortar is of "a pre-mixed variety that subscribes to a historic mortar analysis provided by a testing laboratory in New York . . . who matches the characteristics of the sand composition (grain size and color), and prepares a dye solution that is added to the mixture to simulate the original color (which was provided through the addition of brick dust."

Replacement bricks are "specially molded" "to match the size and color of the existing bricks."

Tools and methods conform to standards sanctioned by the National Park Service.

Press reports:

Amherst Bulletin, 31 Aug. 2007 (beginning of facelift); Hampshire Gazette, 27 Sept. (authorization of funding request by Select Board); Amherst Bulletin, 9 Oct, (CPA deliberations on funding).

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