As is often the case, a restoration project, like the keeper’s house at Wood Island, must go through a phase of preparation that temporarily strips the structure of its familiar finished appearance.
During the outset of this vital process, it is difficult to imagine the glory of things to come, yet slowly but surely, evidence of a superb end result begins to emerge as one achievement builds upon another.
At Wood Island Light Station, such a scene is beginning to unfold as the crews of J.B. Leslie Company continue to replace longstanding deterioration along the keeper’s dwelling with a vitality that comes from a historically accurate work plan.
As work crews closed out the week on September 16, 2011, a quick glance around the keeper’s house revealed hints of luster that are being restored to the structure. From its sturdy foundation to the highest point on the roof, wonderful things are appearing – and these sights are both stunning and exciting.
Often, an historic component like a chimney would not readily stand out, but when a structure is receiving a complete exterior make-over like the keeper’s house is, such finished items shine bright like a beacon.
“The two chimneys have been rebuilt and 16-ounce lead-coated copper flashing installed at their bases,” said Jim Leslie, president of J.B. Leslie Company. “We’ve also installed pre-cast caps atop the chimneys.”
“In addition, the builder’s trench dug around the perimeter of the house was completed this past week. The process included the installation of a drain pipe within the trench, which was covered with crushed stone. We also finished pointing the structure’s masonry foundation.”
Another very exciting aspect of the restoration that has begun is the construction of one of the stone piers for the front porch. Though still in progress, the sight of this stone pier being built, which will eventually support a decorative column, provided a hint of the elegance to come.
In recapping the remainder of the restoration progress to date, Jim Leslie noted, “Most of the deteriorated cedar shakes have been removed from the upper part of the house at this point, and new paper has been applied to the uncovered surfaces. Also, while we are working at the island, crews are simultaneously preparing and prepping wood for this project back at the shop, which is helping to keep work detail moving along nicely.”
With the project reaching a point in time where the painstaking prep work of weeks past is now yielding the visible results of things to come, excitement and anticipation will build with the ever-growing restoration momentum – and that’s a feeling of satisfaction all associated with this project can’t wait to experience!