Preserving historic structures can be tricky when it’s necessary to replicate construction materials that aren’t widely used any longer. However, it also creates opportunities to come up with creative solutions.
Sundt used a combination of historic methods with modern materials when restoring 19th century housing at Fort Huachuca, Arizona. Upgraded from a “camp” to a “fort” in 1882, it was around that time that many of the fort’s homes were built as permanent housing. These historic, sun-dried adobe homes housed many of America’s decorated generals throughout history. But over the course of a century, the homes’ 16-inch-thick adobe walls with cement-based plaster suffered deterioration, as did the chimneys, windows and structural supports.
One innovative solution to the challenge of maintaining the historic integrity of the structures was building an on-site window shop to repair or replace several hundred historic wood-framed windows while keeping the original detailing. In addition, we removed old stucco and repaired the thick adobe walls using new adobe blocks made in a manufacture yard built on site. This allowed the craftsmen to see in real time how each piece would fit into the overall structure and eliminated many re-dos and waste. Cut right out of the mid-19th century, the stucco was made using lime in lieu of cement, but the historically accurate material could still be applied using a modern stucco pump. The end result: a piece of America’s history was preserved.
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Fort Huachuca Army Post Housing Remodel