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When Historically Correct is Historically Stupid

10/17/2021 10:28 AM

In building restoration work, a common stipulation is that the work be historically correct. Sometimes however, this is a misguided directive. It ignores the possibility that the original construction contained flaws that contributed to the structure's deterioration. The following is one example from this area. I'd be interested to hear other examples, not necessarily in the field of building restoration, in which adherence to historical correctness is just a repeat of historical stupidity.

About twenty years ago, City Hall undertook the restoration of the local historic town clock and tower, which had been built in the late 1800's. The four clock faces, each ten to twelve feet in diameter, were built with vertical planks, painted white, with black painted Roman numerals around the circumference. Over the decades, cracks had opened between the vertical planking, allowing water infiltration, which led to all of the attendant resulting deterioration. I heard that the plan was to restore the clock faces to exactly as they had been built. I wrote a letter to the architect in charge and explained my concern that if the original construction were repeated, in a few years the clock faces would deteriorate in the same manner and for the same reasons as had the original construction. To my surprise, he phoned me, and in our conversation he admitted that I was right, but he told me that the town's heritage preservation committee had insisted that the clock faces be restored in all of their details faithful to the original construction, and he had been hired to ensure that this was done.

What do you suggest would have resulted in a superior restoration of the clock faces? Have you encountered restoration examples in your area of misguided adherence to historically correct methods?

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#1

Re: When Historically Correct is Historically Stupid

10/17/2021 1:59 PM

To me historic correctness would be an example of the best methods of that period, not to repeat historical mistakes made by a particular worker....A historically correct reproduction means to me that it looks the same, not that it was necessarily constructed exactly the same, using the same materials....Having said all that, the person that's paying to have it done is the boss, I would feel it's my duty to point out any shortcomings in the original design and suggest alternative methods for a more robust design, that doesn't alter the appearance in any way....but in the end, the decision is made by the one paying the bills....Something is only original once, it won't be original once the restoration has taken place, even if it's done the same way...

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#9
In reply to #1

Re: When Historically Correct is Historically Stupid

10/18/2021 10:05 AM

You're right, anything but the original is a reproduction. It reminds me of the family heirloom, a hatchet. The head's been replaced once and the handle twice.

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#10
In reply to #9

Re: When Historically Correct is Historically Stupid

10/18/2021 10:24 AM

Similar to the woodsman's joke: I replaced the head, and my brother replaced the handle, but it's still our father's axe.

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#11
In reply to #9

Re: When Historically Correct is Historically Stupid

10/18/2021 10:40 AM

I always shake my head when I see a replica of the liberty bell, turns out it's most famous for the crack it so proudly depicts...

"The Liberty Bell, previously called the State House Bell or Old State House Bell, is an iconic symbol of American independence, located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Once placed in the steeple of the Pennsylvania State House (now renamed Independence Hall), the bell today is located across the street in the Liberty Bell Center in Independence National Historical Park. The bell was commissioned in 1752 by the Pennsylvania Provincial Assembly from the London firm of Lester and Pack (known subsequently as the Whitechapel Bell Foundry), and was cast with the lettering "Proclaim LIBERTY Throughout all the Land unto all the Inhabitants Thereof", a Biblical reference from the Book of Leviticus (25:10). The bell first cracked when rung after its arrival in Philadelphia, and was twice recast by local workmen John Pass and John Stow, whose last names appear on the bell. In its early years, the bell was used to summon lawmakers to legislative sessions and to alert citizens about public meetings and proclamations.

Although no immediate announcement was made of the Second Continental Congress's vote for independence—and so the bell could not have rung on July 4, 1776, related to that vote—bells were rung on July 8 to mark the reading of the United States Declaration of Independence. While there is no contemporary account of the Liberty Bell ringing, most historians believe it was one of the bells rung. After American independence was secured, the bell fell into relative obscurity until, in the 1830s, the bell was adopted as a symbol by abolitionist societies, who dubbed it the "Liberty Bell".

The bell acquired its distinctive large crack some time in the early 19th century—a widespread story claims it cracked while ringing after the death of Chief Justice John Marshall in 1835. The bell became famous after an 1847 short story claimed that an aged bellringer rang it on July 4, 1776, upon hearing of the Second Continental Congress' vote for independence. Although the bell did not ring for independence on that July 4, the tale was widely accepted as fact, even by some historians. Beginning in 1885, the city of Philadelphia—which owns the bell—allowed it to go to various expositions and patriotic gatherings. The bell attracted huge crowds wherever it went, additional cracking occurred, and pieces were chipped away by souvenir hunters. The last such journey occurred in 1915, after which the city refused further requests.

After World War II, Philadelphia allowed the National Park Service to take custody of the bell, while retaining ownership. The bell was used as a symbol of freedom during the Cold War and was a popular site for protests in the 1960s. It was moved from its longtime home in Independence Hall to a nearby glass pavilion on Independence Mall in 1976, and then to the larger Liberty Bell Center adjacent to the pavilion in 2003. The bell has been featured on coins and stamps, and its name and image have been widely used by corporations."...

Even though the bell was recast twice after the original crack, with more copper being added each time to mitigate the brittleness, it still developed another crack....now the crack that appeared each time was a hairline fracture that ruined the clear tone of the bell, eventually the crack was drilled and widened and is how it remains to this day....

"Cast in London, England, in 1752, the Liberty Bell was made for the Pennsylvania State House. It was ordered by the Pennsylvania Assembly to commemorate the 50-year anniversary of William Penn's 1701 Charter of Privileges.

The Liberty Bell weighs more than a ton (approximately 2,080 pounds). It is made of 70 percent copper, 25 percent tin, and small amounts of lead, zinc, arsenic, silver, and gold."

https://www.belmontmetals.com/product/bell-metal/

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#32
In reply to #11

Re: When Historically Correct is Historically Stupid

10/26/2021 5:17 PM

And for some totally off-topic trivia, John Philip Sousa's "Liberty Bell March" is the theme song for Monty Python's Flying Circus.

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#2

Re: When Historically Correct is Historically Stupid

10/17/2021 4:40 PM

Seems to me that this was a political desicion and it's well known that polititians don't know much about anything, they usally just have good looks and loose tongue. I don't underestimate heritage importance, especially when it comes to real monuments of broader, real or assumed value. And remember heritage includes our mistakes too. We as engineers may freak hearing of repeating technical flaws but ones to decide are the chaps expecting re-election (LOL). Hey that's derm.. eh democracy. S.M.

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#3

Re: When Historically Correct is Historically Stupid

10/17/2021 7:50 PM

I'm with SE in saying that you can restore the building so that it looks the same as the original but with improvements to ensure longevity. There is, however, something to be said against following the customer's instructions to the letter when it is contrary to sound engineering practices.

Say, the architect follows instructions exactly as the customer says (same construction, materials, etc.) even though he has reservations. When time comes and the structure deteriorates as it did before, who will be blamed?

I don't think it will solely be the politicians. The architect's name will always be attached to the structure and his reputation may suffer some damage. He can say that he was forced into it but that excuse is lame as he can always refuse, unless they held a gun to his head. (",)

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#4
In reply to #3

Re: When Historically Correct is Historically Stupid

10/17/2021 9:35 PM

I agree here, I have always taken the position that I was hired to do a job, but the method and completion of the job is my responsibility, I won't listen to somebody telling me how to do the job, I have my reputation to protect and I refuse to do substandard work under any conditions, because like vulcan said, if something goes wrong, even if you are not technically to blame, your name will be associated with the failure....I've had this happen when somebody has approached me on a job telling me to do something to correct the problem when I knew that wasn't it, I left when they refused to listen...If I'm going to be blamed for making mistakes I want them to be my own mistakes not somebody else's...When I'm hired to do a job, I'm in charge of how it's done.....You have to take responsibility for your own work...

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#5

Re: When Historically Correct is Historically Stupid

10/17/2021 11:16 PM

The company I retired from, Dynamic Aviation, is in the process of restoring the first Air Force 1, Eisenhower's Columbine II. To restore it to its original condition with original materials would mean that it would continue to be, essentially, a flying fire trap compared to contemporary aircraft.

Super Constellations of the period did not have the fire resistent materials we have today. They also had much more dangerous heating systems (including widely used asbestos). So Dynamic, per current FAA regulations, is rebuilding her to look as original as possible while eliminating or minimizing the inherent hazards of the materials of that day.

To do anything less with period buildings is just stupid, in my opinion.

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#6

Re: When Historically Correct is Historically Stupid

10/17/2021 11:58 PM

Did the committee insist that the replacement wood be the same species, quality, thickness and mill finish as the original? This would have included a much higher grade lumber than what is normally available now, cut to rough-sawn dimensions, air dried, etc. Did the committee consider changes behind the face, to minimize water intrusion and direct it to a (concealed) exit point?

I was hired to install electrical plugs in all the rooms on the second floor of a large mansion built about 1860 and wired about 1880 (knob & tube, combination gas/electric chandeliers in every room, no switches or plugs in the walls, fused neutral, etc.). The restriction I had was I could not put any holes in the walls, so a later restoration to the original could be done (the original wall finish was painted canvas). I did it, with plugmold in place of the original base shoe (saved each piece with labels as to the room/wall/portion). Confirmed the original wiring had not deteriorated nor been modified nor encased in insulation, and the original fuses could still be obtained (learned a type-C fuse could be made on special order by Bussman). Special permission from the inspector to retain the original glass-faced fuse enclosure, etc. Everybody was happy.

Have you ever seen a progressive rotary switch controlled by turning the ring on the bottom of a chandelier--each light in sequence goes on as you rotate it, then all off at end? Have you ever tried to remove #2 solid copper wire with type-R insulation from conduit with an LB in it--(impossible to do without cutting it in pieces)?

--JMM

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#12
In reply to #6

Re: When Historically Correct is Historically Stupid

10/18/2021 10:51 AM

I don't know the answers to your questions. It has occurred to me that the mentioned architect could still be practicing, so, given the remote possibility that he reads this thread and recognizes himself, I should add that maybe he tried to persuade the heritage committee to adopt a less strict interpretation of historical correctness - to restore the original appearance of the clock faces, but use materials and methods that would ensure longevity (as per SE's interpretation). Maybe he even refused to continue unless they signed a declaration that they had been fully informed of the problems that could ensue if the original construction method were repeated, and absolving him of all responsibility should those problems occur. I don't know. As SimpleMind wrote, it seems an example of what happens when politicians with big egos think they know better than the restoration architect they had hired to oversee the work.

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#21
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Re: When Historically Correct is Historically Stupid

10/19/2021 8:16 AM

Not easy to do,but if the properly sized LB and conduit were used in installation,it can be done.It has to be done at the LB,one direction at a time.They are not designed to be pulled through.Remember how it was installed.

Also remember,the LB is malleable,and can be easily broken with a hammer if the wire must be saved and it has stuck to the inside of the conduit.

Been there,done that.

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#24
In reply to #21

Re: When Historically Correct is Historically Stupid

10/19/2021 9:50 AM

Don't forget that as the wire is being bent during installation it is becoming work hardened. Since removal requires at least two and more likely three successive bends, and this must be started with the wire well within the confines of the LB, removal is virtually impossible without sacrificing something. Note that in this case the wire was the old solid conductor, not the multi-strand (7, 19, or more) that is used now. Add to that the thickness and possible "flakiness" of the type R insulation. You are right that the LB, being a malleable iron/steel product could be broken. The historical value of the wire and conduit was nil since they all had been installed at least 50 years after the original construction, and we were installing a new "out of sight" 200-amp service. The original had been an 80-amp 120-volt service to the mansion from the generator in the flour mill's building nearby, and the one I was removing had been done much later.

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#26
In reply to #24

Re: When Historically Correct is Historically Stupid

10/19/2021 11:28 AM

I have had to break LB's before,and they break relatively easy,and do save a lot of time and effort if you cannot get anything under the wire at the LB to get a loop started,especially hard on long runs of wire,100ft or more.

It can be very stubborn.

I have used portable pipe threaders,anchored to the floor to pull wire into and out of conduit.Using a 2 inch conduit as a capstan drive,and a few turns of rope around it works very well.

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#7

Re: When Historically Correct is Historically Stupid

10/18/2021 5:07 AM

Conservers of all historical artefacts face the same dilemmas. The classic example is the first modern steam locomotive, the Rocket:

  • Over time since it was built, lessons have been learned with regard to boiler construction that would mean rather than encompassing the most of the original materials within a restoration job, there would need to be so much alteration to the original techniques and materials that to do so would mean a risk of loss of integrity to an important historical artefact. Given that only 70% of the original artefact is intact, and it is not in its original condition, would mean that a full restoration would seriously impinge on its historical content. In such circumstances, it is wise to retain and conserve the original artefact in its current state, and construct replicas that are compatible as far as outward appearance with the original whilst complying with modern construction and safety practices with regard to boiler construction. Several credible, operable, replicas of Rocket now exist and these are celebrated while the original artefact remains in a museum, barely receiving a glance from passing visitors, though mercifully free from unwanted molestation.

The UK is particularly good at this sort of thing.

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#8

Re: When Historically Correct is Historically Stupid

10/18/2021 5:17 AM

A few years ago the Lychgate of my local church built in 1780 was in need of repair. The sandstone base had weathered badly and the oak canopy supports had suffered from woodworm to the extent that they were no longer structurally sound. The local heritage society insisted on using traditional craftsmen to hand carve the timber and stone (to preserve skills that are being lost) and using stone from the local quarry (that has not been worked for seventy years). The total cost was £46,000.

Sandstone and Limestone that has been left exposed to the atmosphere as in the old quarry become brittle and is very difficult to carve. Special planning permission had to be granted to reopen the local quarry to remove approximately 1 cubic meter of stone. The stone used would take 4x to 5x the time needed to carve "fresh" stone. The seam of sandstone goes underground just north of our village and reappears on the surface 80 miles away in Cumbria where there is a company still quarrying the very same stone. They can carve the sandstone on their CNC stone routers and deliver it ready finished to site.

The heritage society insisted on using English Oak, but as England no longer has unprotected oak forests this is very expensive and difficult to obtain. French and Spanish oak are readily available and because of slight differences in the grain structure of the wood is easier to carve, especially with a CNC timber router.

I costed using materials obtained from Cumbria and France and carving using current technology to obtain a result indistinguishable from the lychgate rebuilt by our heritage society. The total came to £11,800 including all the extra shipping costs. When I objected to the local council granting 1/3rd (£15,333) of the cost of the restoration from my local taxes, I was over ruled. I am now not popular with the local heritage society because I demonstrated their incompetence.

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#13

Re: When Historically Correct is Historically Stupid

10/18/2021 3:02 PM

In Texas we have 256 counties, most with historic Courthouses built between 1880 and 1935. Almost all have been restored or are in the process. Not one of the restorations have kept the original toilets or elevators and most have done electrical system upgrades (yeah, yeah most of the electrical systems, almost all the elevators and many of the toilets were add-ons to the original builds).

My point is restoration has to be in keeping with the current use. Nobody wants to have to use a privy or toilets they have to manually fill, nobody should have to ride in a conveyance that is at best marginally safe and nobody should ever be made to work or do business in a firetrap.

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#23
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Re: When Historically Correct is Historically Stupid

10/19/2021 8:30 AM

You mean they don't use outhouses and they have elevators, and 'lectricity, and indoor plumbing,and they don't have mules pulling buggies?

WOW! I gotta get out more often!

I might have to sell my Model A and get something newer.

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#14

Re: When Historically Correct is Historically Stupid

10/18/2021 7:25 PM

Annapolis, Maryland has a vibrant historical district with all the attendant rules and regulations of what you can and cannot do to the home you "own". But hey, you know what the situation is when you buy that over-priced tiny home on a tiny lot with no off-street parking. A million plus is the norm.

Would you buy this half of a duplex for $1.8 million? It's charming and cute, but . . .

https://www.zillow.com/homedetails/114-Market-St-Annapolis-MD-21401/98537695_zpid/

And then have to deal with the two-bit tyrants on the historical commission?

https://www.baltimoresun.com/news/bs-xpm-2008-03-09-0803070425-story.html

https://www.baltimoresun.com/maryland/anne-arundel/bs-md-ar-porch-20110907-story.html

I recall a big brouhaha a few years back when someone was cited for using fiberglass composite pillars on their front porch with wood graining molded in so convincing that you would have to cut into it to be able to tell that they were not actually wood. The nazis in the hysterical commission made these homeowners take them down and purchase wood pillars. Which of course will rot. And the courts upheld the insanity.

https://caselaw.findlaw.com/md-court-of-special-appeals/1579369.html

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#15
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Re: When Historically Correct is Historically Stupid

10/18/2021 7:30 PM

I wouldn't buy real estate within 50 miles of Annapolis. And the sailing crowd there is the snobbiest in the world.

Well, to be fair, all the sailing crowd is the snobbiest in the world. I got blackballed for trolling a fishing line off the sterm of my Columbia. All I wanted was some fresh dinner.

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#16
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Re: When Historically Correct is Historically Stupid

10/18/2021 8:54 PM

That's ballocks. I always used to troll off the stern when I went sailing with my parents on the Cape. Used to catch blues off of Martha's Vineyard crossing over Horseshoe Shoals on the way to Nantucket back in the 70's before all the rich and famous people ruined the Islands. When I say ruined, I don't mean that literally, but essentially priced the Islands out of reach for mere mortals.

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#17
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Re: When Historically Correct is Historically Stupid

10/18/2021 9:02 PM

I wouldn't either even though I purchased real estate within four miles as the gull flies from City Dock in Annapolis. My house value has tripled since we originally purchased the house in 1996, so I won't complain about that. But I will be happy to leave the area when I retire. The rat race here just wears you down.

We have a house down in Stuarts Draft just a poke down the road from you. I prefer the pace out in the country. Just getting old and cranky.

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#18
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Re: When Historically Correct is Historically Stupid

10/18/2021 10:32 PM

Exactly why I live in Grottoes. Quiet, 95% conservative voters, lots of guns and people who know how to use them.

And our town has had over 40 new-build homes in the last year. Real estate prices are skyrocketing. I assume Stuart's Draft is similar.

Give me a yell if you ever get down here. I'll buy you a cuppa.

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#19
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Re: When Historically Correct is Historically Stupid

10/18/2021 11:30 PM

I'm familiar with Grottoes since my wife grew up next to the railroad tracks in Port Republic just up the road. I met my wife when I was TDY at Vint Hill Farms Station back in '86. I'm a yamn dankee originally until I entered the service. We were all over until '96 when I left the Army.

And real estate prices are shooting up in Stuarts Draft as well because there is so much demand for housing and builders are having a hard time keeping up. I think one of the issues is that builders are having a hard time finding people willing to sell their property for development (which doesn't really break my heart ). Stuarts Draft has a Hershey factory, Nibco and other industry popping up and keeping the area growing.

We purchased the house in Stuarts Draft a couple of years ago to put my in-laws in because they are in their mid-to-late eighties and not in great health with significant mobility issues, walkers, bathing, the whole gamut. This is my-in-laws' house in Port.

The house was/is not fit for beast or animal. The floors are all uneven and the doorways are too narrow for a typical walker. The electrical system is ancient and the plumbing was basically third world because he didn't maintain anything (well). My father-in-law's handyman skills makes Tim "The Tool Man" Taylor look like Norm Abram on the New Yankee Workshop.

This is the house we bought in Stuarts Draft.

My wife pretty much lives out of our RV in the driveway of the house since they need somebody readily nearby in their current state. She refuses to live in the house and I don't blame her. Her dad is not an easy person to be around. I commute down nearly every weekend to help and give her a bit of a break and maintain the house. The house was already "senior friendly" and even has an "elevator" lift from the garage level to the main level. The only thing I needed to do was install an upstairs laundry in the big hall closet to save my mother-in-law trips down to the basement to do laundry. It's four steps down from the garage level to the basement.

Next time we're up Grottoes way, I'll give you a shout.

Cheers !

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#25
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Re: When Historically Correct is Historically Stupid

10/19/2021 10:18 AM

You are right, the fibreglass columns the home owners were forced to remove were indistinguishable from wood. We have the heritage designation here too. If so designated you need approval to put a screw in a wall. The clock tower described in my original post is certainly designated an historical building, which would have prohibited various sensible methods to repair the clock faces. New clock faces could have been fabricated from aluminium or marine grade plywood - seamless disks with a baked-on finish if metal, or an epoxy coating if wood. The numerals, instead of being painted on, could have been laser or water-jet cut from plate aluminium, with a baked-on finish, and then screwed to the clock faces. The result would have looked good, and the clock faces would have been fixed so they stayed fixed. This strategy would have adopted the current philosophy of art conservation and restoration - if at all possible the work should be reversible without damage to the original, so that if future conservators develop better methods, the current restoration will not pose a barrier to the application of those better methods.

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#20

Re: When Historically Correct is Historically Stupid

10/19/2021 6:23 AM

When all things are considered, back in the day, they were limited with materials and tooling and honestly, people today would not even notice any upgrades to new materials. Besides, these stipulations are outdated and complied by some old foggies, just as the road rules were complied by foggies who thought speed was dangerous and all roads should be measured on the width of horses butts behind a chariot.

If you are going to restore a building for posterity, do it properly and make it last. The Vasa ship has been restored so much that it is no longer the original Vasa, as the original wood has decayed and been replaced with new wood. It s a Vasa replica that may last longer than the original, but it looks like the Vasa and no one notices nor considers it is all new wood, made to look old.

https://allthatsinteresting.com/vasa-ship

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#22

Re: When Historically Correct is Historically Stupid

10/19/2021 8:19 AM

I have the original hatchet that George Washington used to chop down the cherry tree.

The handle has been replaced 6 times and the head has been replaced twice.

Aside from that is is all original.

$1000 or best offer.

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#27
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Re: When Historically Correct is Historically Stupid

10/19/2021 1:02 PM
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#28

Re: When Historically Correct is Historically Stupid

10/25/2021 9:32 AM

Your conversation with the architect is interesting. I live in a historic district and have found that almost all disagreements in restoration and preservation are essentially political. We have a resident who does most of the research and legwork on restoration efforts, and others get insecure and find loopholes on which to disagree with her to stroke their own egos. It matters less what's correct or desirable and more what'll make them feel good.

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#29
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Re: When Historically Correct is Historically Stupid

10/26/2021 9:48 AM

The photograph is of the "Pagoda Bridge" in a beautiful park near where I grew up. It was restored in 1989, and related to your comment, I did some research and legwork and came to a different conclusion than the Heritage Committee with respect to the colour scheme that should have been used in the restoration. Interestingly, this bridge was designed by John Belcher, who also designed the town clock described in my original post. He designed dozens of historic buildings in this region.

During the restoration, the original colour scheme of the bridge was determined by carefully sanding through the many layers of paint at various locations until the first layer was reached. The methodology seems infallible, and the bridge was painted in accordance with the findings, as per the photograph. But the result did not please many senior citizens, my father's generation, who had always remembered the bridge painted in Chinese red, black, and cream. I too remember it like that. It shone like a jewel at the end of the pond.

Curious, I visited the local museum and asked to see the earliest colour photograph in their collection of the Pagoda Bridge. They produced a colour postcard dated 1910. Sure enough, the bridge was Chinese red, black, and cream. But the bridge had been built in 1895, so the postcard image was not proof that the colour scheme used in the restoration was historically incorrect. But here's the rub - the architect John Belcher was still alive in 1910. Such was his status in the community it is reasonable to suppose that the colour scheme of the bridge originally specified by him would not have been altered without first seeking his consent. It is entirely possible that the colour change was his idea! Maybe he concluded that the bridge, being of an oriental style, would be improved if painted in brighter, oriental colours. In any case, he must have authorized the colour change, and if authorized and approved by the original designing architect then surely the 1910 postcard shows the true historically correct colour scheme. I wrote a letter to the Heritage Committee, informing them of my findings, and of my conclusion. They never replied.

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#30
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Re: When Historically Correct is Historically Stupid

10/26/2021 10:30 AM

The Chinese paint everything red for good luck...

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#31
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Re: When Historically Correct is Historically Stupid

10/26/2021 1:02 PM

Now that's a bridge! Your red equals good luck reference is more evidence that the local Heritage Committee got it wrong. The Pagoda Bridge described in my comment was an even brighter red than that - but the red on the bridge of your posting has probably faded with time.

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#33
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Re: When Historically Correct is Historically Stupid

10/28/2021 10:57 AM

Interesting story -- the homes in my village date from around the same time (1870-1895). Many are painted garish colors and I recently learned that the brightly colored 'Pink Lady' Victorian style paint schemes only became popular in the 60s. To each their own house, I suppose. Of course some of the Victorians in our neighborhoods are Frankenhouses and have been done over with vinyl siding and EPDM roofing, etc.

My wife and I are looking to purchase an 1875 Victorian and are planning on repainting in authentic colors, as much as we know to be possible.

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#34
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Re: When Historically Correct is Historically Stupid

10/28/2021 1:52 PM

I thought the Pagoda Bridge story was interesting too. It is a case in which sound arguments can be made that in the restoration of that historic structure the original colour scheme was not necessarily the correct choice.

My house was built in the mid-1890's. More Edwardian than Victorian in style - the trim details are less elaborate than the earlier Victorian. It has been in my family since it was built - the only one remaining from my great-grandfather who owned several houses in the area. Fortunately none of the historical details have been removed or altered. Astonishingly, some of these houses have had the stained glass of the transom windows removed and replaced with clear glass. I love the morning and evening sun slanting through the stained glass windows. One of the most common and misguided decisions is to remove the paint from the interior millwork of these older houses. In that era, no one considered the pine and fir used for interior trim to be anything special. If left bare it was just a sign that the owner couldn't afford paint. In this house only the stairs, being built of select walnut, are natural varnished wood. Traditionally, here in Ontario, exterior trim is painted in somber tones. In Quebec and the maritime provinces, brighter colours are favoured.

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#35
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Re: When Historically Correct is Historically Stupid

10/29/2021 9:19 AM

Fun project. Good luck!

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