Preserving The Building
Since 2014, Stone Church Project Architect Phillip Warbasse has been monitoring stress cracks in the north and east faces of the tower base. The cracks are not ladder cracks, which follow joints, but are structural cracks through the ten inch thick granite face stone. Comparing photos taken between 2014 and 2019, there appears to be only about 1/8″ increase in the outward projection of the stone between the two major cracks on the north face.
Funding was secured for steeple stabilization from individual donors, the Massachusetts Historical Commission and the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Following a structural engineering survey by John Wathne of Structures North Consulting in August, 2017, a Phase 1 project for remedial work to the first 40 feet of the tower base was bid to five specialist contractors and was awarded to Joseph Gnazzo Company of Union, CT.
The company started work in early April, 2019. Staging was set up and the first two stones where the critical cracks are located were removed to examine the condition of mortar behind them. Mr. Wathne visited the site, identifying twenty-one locations to be cored through the face stone and through the rubble backup stone without penetrating the interior face stone.
Coring began on May 20. When coring is complete, stainless steel pins will be fabricated to the depth of each core, inserted and surrounded by pumped-in structural grout. The steel pins and grout will stabilize the mass of interior core stone, which is four feet thick at the tower base. After the structural grout is pumped in around the pins, a face piece of each numbered core will be fitted to plug the openings, then sealed with mortar which will be blended to match the face stone.
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The survey team: John Wathne, PE, Structures North; Steve Quinn, Skyline Engineers; Phillip Warbasse, AIA, Warbasse Associates LLC
Friends of the Stone Church and Hardwick Historical Society partner to save historic building
GILBERTVILLE 2015 – Secretary of State William Galvin recently awarded a matching funds contract for $50,000 from the Massachusetts Preservation Projects Fund to the Hardwick Historical Society for emergency stabilization of the 1872 Trinitarian Congregational Church building in Gilbertville.
Unheated for the last two years, the building now needs roof and other repairs. The contents include a historic Johnson & Son organ that was restored and celebrated by a community-based group called “Friends of the Gilbertville Organ,” carved interior woodwork, evocative stained glass windows and historic records related to Gilbertville history. Many of these features, notably the organ, are threatened by humidity and water leaking through the slate roof and through the hand-quarried walls and bell tower and under the foundation.
A proposal was submitted for Emergency Stabilization funding to the Massachusetts Historical Commission, a division of the Office of the Secretary of State that assists in the preservation of historic properties and places with National Register status. The agreement, which provides MHC funds to seal the slate roof and repair interior areas damaged by water, requires the grant recipient to invest a minimum of $50,000 worth of improvements, funded by contributions or donated services, for stabilization improvements. These include a new zoned heating and de-humidification systems.