Friday, March 16, 2012

The beginning of the beginnng

Durant-Kenrick Blog March 16, 2012
After a long dormant winter (referring to the season rather than the weather) the Durant-Kenrick property has suddenly sprouted an early spring crop of backhoes, chain link fences and people in work boots!
Photo 1) Moving the dairy foundation
Photo 2.) The temporary location of the dairy foundation
We are about to receive our building permit for renovation and construction on the D-K property, and with the OK of the Inspectional Service Department, this week we have begun significant pre-construction activities on the property. Our general contractor rolled his state-of the-art trailer/office onto the site in preparation for groundbreaking.  The first order of business was to dig up and re-locate the foundation and floor of the “dairy” structure that we unexpectedly uncovered last summer.  After painstakingly marking and identifying each brick and foundation stone, and recording their exact locations, the crew used hand tools to carefully remove each brick and stone and relocate them to the back of the property (Photo 1: moving the dairy foundation; Photo 2: The temporary location of the dairy foundation).  These will eventually be re-assembled to re-create the dairy near the house some time after restoration and construction is complete.
Photo 3.) Partially excavated foundation of classroom/education center
Next, those aforementioned backhoes scooped out the top 18” of soil from the area where the new classroom/education center will be built (Photo 3: partially excavated foundation).  The excavated area is being examined by our archaeological sleuths from the UMass Boston archaeology department to make sure we’re not about to dig up or otherwise damage any yet-to-be found sub-surface structures or relics of days gone by. Once they give us the go-ahead we will begin full-scale excavation for the new wing.
Photo 4.) The support beams of the second floor 
Photo 5.) Portion of sill
In the meantime our restoration crew will soon begin work on strengthening some of the main support beams under the floors of the historic house (Photo 4.exposing the support beams for the second floor), and examining the integrity of the sills – the now ancient wooden beams that rest on the house’s stone foundation and tether the main vertical structural elements (Photo 5: portion of sill).  
If everything goes according to plan, construction and restoration will proceed through the spring and summer and should be substantially complete by early fall.  Of course with a nearly 300-year-old structure, there are a lot of unknowns.  Keep your eye on this blog and we’ll keep you updated on construction progress on a fairly frequent basis now that things are moving!
Carl M. Cohen