Special Issue (EXTRA)May 16, 2002
The Brick Board Bugle
Herriman Mansion website: http://freepages.history.rootsweb.com/~herrimanmansion/index.html
This special extra issue is being published to inform the public, supporters and friends of the Herriman Mansion project about the report on the Technical Advisory Network (TAN) visit on April 27, 2002, to evaluate the Herriman Mansion project.
The Technical Advisory Network (TAN) visit was conducted on April 27, 2002, to evaluate the Herriman Mansion project and a report was received by email from Marlin Ingalls on May 9, 2002. As reported in Issue 3, the visit was excellent and provided immediate beneficial input. The full TAN report is available. Copies have been distributed to some of the key members of the project team. This special issue is being published with key excerpts from the full report to make all the supporters and friends of the Herriman Mansion Restoration Project aware of the results.
T.A.N. Site Evaluation: The Herriman Mansion
The Herriman Mansion located in Wadena, Fayette County, Iowa, was constructed ca. 1850 and is eligible for listing on the National Register under Criteria A, B, and C. . . . The results of that site visit and evaluation of the resource are noted below.
Overview of Architectural Style and Period of Significance
Architecturally and stylistically the Herriman Mansion falls within the Late-Federal period of architectural design style. Some Greek Revival elements were observed but not highly developed in this building. The Federal style was popular in Iowa from the 1830s to the 1860s and is seen in sections of the state settled prior to the Civil War.
The residence's size implies its importance to the community and it was the residence of the community's founder. The Herriman Mansion is a reflection of trans-regional thinking and is a social and economic statement of the owner's importance to the community. The house and its owner played a significant role in the community's economic, social, and political views and the house was a visual statement of this and should be part of its interpretation.
Lastly, it expresses an overall statement of the deep roots of America's agricultural and social thinking as expressed in Iowa during the Herriman Mansion's period of its significance. It is an artifact both of Jacksonian democracy and classical architecture from Iowa's late territorial era. This contextual history needs to be understood both by the conservators, visitors, and eventually by the staff relating the history of the resource.
Herriman Mansion Evaluation
First Floor Plan. The floor plan and room arrangement of the building is original with a few minor alterations.
First Floor Condition. The condition of the first floor of the main house (I-section) is fair. The cut limestone, quarry-faced, random ashlar-bonded foundation and lower wall appear in overall good condition. The main problem is that the central, soft-mud brick, interior supporting wall has serious structural problems associated with rising damp. The brick exfoliation is severe with several sections of brick reduced to powder. This structural element should be addressed immediately for stabilization of the entire front section.
The floor of the rear extension was not visible in many areas but looked stable, as did the exterior wall up to the roofline. On the upper roofline deterioration of the roof has led to water infiltration that has caused the weakening of mortar and loss of the integrity of the hewn timber sill plate in several areas. The northwestern corner, between the rear extension and kitchen, has seen considerable damage. This appeared to be caused by the impact of machinery on the corner more than direct structural deterioration.
Second Floor Condition. Unlike the first floor the second floor's millwork, flooring, plaster, hardware, and other elements show a high degree of integrity and preservation. An unusual feature is a horizontal plank wainscoting. This is a very unusual feature and has survived in very good condition.
Part of the second floor level of the rear wing has collapsed onto the first floor. This entire area needs to be cleaned out and stabilized with shoring, posts, or cribbing.
Third Floor Condition. This level has suffered the most water damage due to the deterioration of the roof. Water infiltration from the roof and the birds are the two immediate problems needing to be addressed for this level.
Structural Problems and Recommendations by Priority
Essentially, as it presently stands the Herriman Mansion can be viewed as a ruin. As a result, due to the significant structural problems of the house at this time all efforts should go only into emergency structural stabilization. This entails replacing the roof, masonry stabilization and repair, including banding the front fašade, and removing and sorting all debris.
Roof. The roof over the entire building is deteriorated with large sections collapsed. Water damage is severe in some areas.
Recommendation. Complete replacement.
Front Fašade. One of the first priorities is to address a large structural crack in the masonry. While this area feels stable at present the entire front of the house is in jeopardy of collapse at any time. This structural problem needs immediate stabilization and the entire masonry walls sections surrounding the crack will need to be rebuilt and other areas shored up. If the fašade should fall restoration of the house would be a moot point.
Recommendation. Three possible wall stabilization methods come to mind in order that the weight and vibration that will occur during roofing and cleanup does not cause further damage or even collapse.
As a permanent repair large long bolts will have to be drilled into the interior masonry walls and affixed to an iron plate set within the wall at a stable place. A wall anchor plate, commonly seen on area period houses, can then be attached on the exterior securing the fašade to the interior walls.
Structural Support. Kim Tschudy from Wisconsin, who has his own historic building project underway in Clermont, has also continued to be very supportive of the Herriman Mansion project. He has been instrumental in bringing to our attention and helping us to arrange a Technical Advisory Network (TAN) visit on April 27, 2002, to evaluate the Herriman Mansion project. Although the weather conditions were miserable, the visit was excellent and provided some immediate beneficial input. When the full TAN report is available, a special news edition is planned to relay the information.
Recommendation. Several wall and floor sections should be shored up with posts, jacks, or cribbing in larger areas. For safety some of these supports will need to be in place before the general cleanup.
Debris Removal. Large amounts of building debris and general detritus litter the floors. A large section of the rear wing's second level flooring has collapsed onto the first floor. This material prevents access to several areas, holds damp, attracts pests, and is a general safety hazard.
Recommendation. The debris and collapsed materials should be removed and the unsound bricks, flooring and joists, and other elements removed.
Animal Infiltration. Birds, hogs, woodchucks, raccoons, and possums have inhabited the building over the years.
Recommendation. Elimination of the present occupants by live trapping and then closing all means of egress. Window and door blinding is recommended.
Drainage. Rising damp and general runoff have caused serious structural problems.
Recommendation. Runoff from the upslope area along with the general buildup of debris around the exterior walls should be addressed. All water runoff should be directed away form the house. Tilling on the upslope side may be necessary to reduce groundwater and rising damp.
Planning and Goals: Stabilization and Restoration
This is an outline and timeline to stabilize the building so that further deterioration is halted. Restoration of the interior may be several years along and interior wall support, debris removal, animal infiltration, and drainage.
Request Full TAN Report
If you would like the complete TAN Report, send Everett Zupke a letter or email and request a copy. It will be sent by email if an email address is available
Herriman Mansion website
Issue Number 3 of the newsletter has been added to the website. This special EXTRA issue will also be added as soon as possible.
Other Task Updates
The TAN visit has already provided important feedback and the report will include significant guidance to aid all of the project tasks including guidance for applying for REAP/HRDP grants. REAP/HRDP provides resources to preserve, conserve, interpret and educate the public about Iowa's historical resources. The TAN visit is designed to provide guidance and advice for this effort.
Hiring a professional (see the Grants and Aid item below) to prepare the application is a very important step in the march toward being listed on the National Register. While some funds are potentially available with the Certification of Eligibility for the National Register of Historic Places, listing is necessary to be eligible for much of the private and government funding available.
Ed Gage is contacting the property owner, Mr. Eldon Lenth, and to determine what negotiations need to be initiated to establish the specific conditions for acquiring the Herriman Mansion and the needed land surrounding it to support the restoration project.
Cash donations have been received in the amount of $520. In addition, there have been contributions "in kind" with a value of between $2000 and $2500.
Grants and Aid
As mentioned by Marlin in his report, emergency grant funds, if available, should be provided to address the immediate near-term stabilization needed. Also, need to apply for additional grants to provide for the required permanent structural replacement required to accomplish long-term stabilization and environmental protection and start the restoration of significantly deteriorated structures. In parallel there should be funds requested to assist with the full application for formal National Register status.
Next Issue of the Bugle
I plan for another issue to be out in mid-July. Tentatively, I plan to be in Iowa in late June for a family reunion and to meet with as many people as possible about this project. Send inputs by US mail or email, i.e., any suggestions on content or material to be included.
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