19th Century Brick Restoration
2012 Benjamin Long Homestead Project

 

Click here for photos from the mason...

Under the skilled but exacting hands of Brian Daddis and with the continued cooperation of Mother Nature, the masonry work at the Benjamin Long Homestead finished ahead of schedule. This project was a collaborative effort between the City of Tonawanda, and the Historical Society of the Tonawandas. The Society Board would like to thank Mayor Ronald Pilozzi for his support of the restoration project and for his efforts in providing the funding grant which shared the cost of the work with the Society.

Restoration of the interior brickwork was extensive, as the accompanying photos show. Many of the original hand-molded bricks were in such poor and deteriorated condition that they had to be removed. Early 19th century bricks from a building in Lewiston were recovered by Brian. Each replacement brick was hand cut to fill the awaiting void. All the bricks were then protected with a material designed to prevent the powdering which had caused the demise of the originals. Painstaking care was taken to insure that colors matched and shapes were not too perfect so that the original look of the walls was preserved.

For the exterior stone walls, old mortar was carefully chipped away. Where necessary, wall sections were rebuilt and the mortar renewed with a stone-friendly substance. Brian is now engaged in the same painstaking process with the outside walls. The end result will be a foundation which should stand the test of another two hundred years. Brian’s skills as a specialist in masonry restoration will be apparent to everyone who visits the Homestead.

Once the foundation restoration work was completed, the cleanup began with a crew headed by Homestead Caretaker, Carole Barnard. As you can imagine, despite all due care on the part of the mason, working with old bricks and mortar created a huge amount of debris and dust, some of which made its way upstairs(!) from the basement and all of which had to be cleaned up before the Homestead could open for the season. Several “work parties” were held at the Homestead. The official re-opening for the 2012 season took place on Sunday, May 27th. The site was open each Sunday thereafter until Labor Day weekend, from 1:00-4:00 PM.

Click here for photos from the mason...


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