On Wednesday, October 28, Jonathan and Danielle attended a energy conservation workshop offered by LIVE Green and Pure Energy. We learned things that can be done within an older building (they used a city row house as the example) to help conserve energy. The importance of insulation and energy efficient appliances to significantly reduce heating and electric bills. We appreciated the physics lesson explaining why replacement windows are not the answer to save energy (beyond the historic value).

LIVE Green is a non-profit organization that promotes sustainable city living their website is www.livelancaster.org for more information on their purpose, events, and workshops. Pure Energy is a Lancaster-based energy auditing company their website is www.pureenergyaudits.com for information on their services, training, and energy conservation tools.

On Sunday, October 19, Chuck, Lois, Jonathan, Danielle, and Josh attended the Architectural History Tour of the Northeast Lancaster Township Historic District. The tour was appropriately called “Mansions on Marietta” and highlighted buildings built as the first suburban development in Lancaster County.

The oldest house on the tour was built in 1828 and is Wheatland home of 15th President James Buchanan. The other six homes on the tour (private residences) where built between 1920 and 1939. These houses reminded us of the “old” (at least 100 years old) building on the West Coast.


Danielle and Jonathan spent three days in Colonial Williamsburg with Jonathan’s parents Donald and Diane. The picture shows Jonathan and his dad in the stocks next to the courthouse – they quickly learned that public punishment was not very comfortable. A lot has changed in Williamsburg since Danielle and Jonathan visited Thanksgiving 2001. They are in the process of building a new plantation close to the Colonial Capital of Virginia to show how the majority of people lived during this time period – they have a few buildings built (the smaller outbuildings) and they will have to wait until the coffeehouse next to the Capital building is finished being built (next fall) for the carpenters (using only 18th century tools) to build the main house at the plantation.

Jonathan also had a new appreciation for the hand forged rosehead nails that we purchase after watching the blacksmith make them one at a time. Having the time to step back in history appreciating the colonial architecture (noticing the similarities and differences depending on the region of the country) and learning more about the people that lived during our colonial period was a relaxing way to spend a warm fall weekend.

Rainy Days…

What to do when a wet Nor’Eastener settles over Staten Island on a work day? Take the ferry to the Big Apple! Lois and Chuck went on an adventure in Manhattan last Friday. We arrived at the Staten Island Ferry Terminal at noon and mingled with the local fokes waiting to board the ferry to the City. Hearing serveral different languages spoken by excited young adults making their way around the deck. As we all braved the wind and the rain to watch the tug boats, tankers, and ships glide along the Hudson River. Lady Liberty appeared out of the fog to greet us, a beacon of hope and welcome for the past 100 plus years. The ride was actually fast, about 15 minutes. Landing in the Battery Section of lower Manhattan.. Of course Chuck and I walked around, looking up, pointing out the architectual details on the buildings to each other, like a couple of tourist. We even walked to Wall Street, there were a lot of people in the bars….

Catching the ferry to return to Staten Island at the end of the day was another eye opening event. Dare I say thousands of people gathered and boarded the ferry. This system of transporttion works and its free. Historic Restorations will have a field trip to the city again, we will make sure that the kids experince this too.

On Saturday, September 20, 2008 we presented “How to Approach Work on Your Older Home” to a group of interested homeowners in Columbia, Pennsylvania. We discussed avoiding common mistakes, how to make an older home more energy efficient, and how to plan for the work. After we finished the question and answer segment Chuck offered to take anyone who was interested to go outside to look at some of the mistakes made (previously, such as, sandblasting and using Portland Cement based mortar) on the Columbia Market House and the maintenance tasks that can be completed to help preserve the building. The preservation fair was sponsored by The Borough of Columbia and the Historic Architectural Review Board through the support of The Richard C. von Hess Foundation.

Ephrata Cloister

On Sunday, September 14, 2008, we went to the Ephrata Cloister’s tour of the second and third floors (areas not usually open to the public). The third floor is mostly intact from the 18th century (used to recreate the rooms on the first floor for the museum tour) and the second floor was “remodeled” in the 19th century with some walls being taken out and staircases moved. The most interesting features were the wooden thumb latches and wooden hinges on the cabinets.

Some of the buildings on the Cloister site are unique because they are half-timber (frame buildings with the inside of the frame filled with masonry and then covered by wooden siding). This is the largest collection of buildings constructed in this manner in Pennsylvania.

Labor Day Weekend

We spent Labor Day Weekend at the Oregon Coast at the Groshong family reunion. The picture shows Chuck with his siblings in descending order. Almost the entire family gathered to reconnect and reminisce about times spent at the beach. With walks on the beach, rowing in the lake, and a bonfire with singing a good time was had by all.
We are working on building our preservation store on our website. Besides the Speedheater Paint Removal System we are adding John Leeke’s Practical Restoration Reports. These reports are able to be used by homeowners, contractors, and architects to provide an industry standard within restoration to work to. The reports we are going to carry are: Save Your Wood Windows, Wood-Epoxy Repairs, Wood Gutters, Exterior Wood Columns, Mouldings, Exterior Woodwork Details, and Managing Maintenance. A sample of Save Your Wood Windows
http://historichomeworks.com/hhw/reports/WoodWindowsSampleScr.PDF is available at the link above.

If you know of a preservation product or tool that you cannot live without let us know we are always looking for additional products to added to our website to help people restore/preserve their buildings with sensitivity.

Have a great holiday weekend!

Nine Mile Canyon

The National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Forum Journal for the Summer 2008 highlights how the federal government’s energy policy is threatening cave drawings (5000 BC) in the Nine Mile Canyon in Utah. Since the Energy Policy Act of 2005 opened up federal lands for energy development 120 natural gas wells have been drilled above the Nine Mile Canyon with 50 more planned. This has caused multiple problems with dust covering the drawings from the many vehicles traveling the dirt roads to the natural gas wells. In addition the additional traffic is endangering the thousands of artifacts (from stone beads to pottery pieces to stone tools). In 2004 (before the Energy Policy Act of 2005) the National Trust named Nine Mile Canyon to the list of 11 Most Endangered Historic Places.

We all want to work for energy independence deciding which route to take is the largest dilemma in solving this problem. A question we need to ask ourselves is the amount of natural gas being collected from these wells worth the potential damage to the irreplaceable cave drawings?

More information about the Nine Mile Canyon can be found on the National Trust website at: http://www.preservationnation.org/take-action/advocacy-center/action-alerts/nine-mile-canyon-at-risk.html.