St. Vincent ( Isaacs House, Kingstown )

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Title:
St. Vincent ( Isaacs House, Kingstown )
Series Title:
Caribbean Volunteer Expeditions : drawings and reports, 1990 - 2012
Physical Description:
Mixed Material
Language:
English
Creator:
Caribbean Volunteer Expeditions
Hersh, Anne
Rice, S.
Klaassen, K.
Berwanger, C.
Publisher:
Caribbean Volunteer Expeditions
Place of Publication:
Corning, NY
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Caribbean Volunteer Expeditions
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Caribbean Volunteer Expeditions
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All rights reserved by the source institution.
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AA00012428:00037


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PAGE 1

The Isaac’s House Caribbean Volunteer Expeditions April 1998 1. Introduction The Isaac’s House was built around 1880 by Isaacs, who was an architect, and who designed several other im portant buildings in St. Vincent. The building was occupied by the Isaacs family until 1990, when it was sold to the Kingstown Baptist Church. The house is an important example of a late 19th century wood building in St. Vincent, and should be maintained and pr eserved. The house is valuable as an historic asset and as a part of the heritage of the country. In April. 1998, Caribbean Volunteer Expe dition volunteers studied the Isaac’s House at the request of the St. Vincent National Trust. Our work consisted of measuring the house, producing scaled draw ings and preparing this brief report describing the materials and conditions of the house. The drawings show existing conditions; however, we did not include the modern toilet room building. Drawings, (at inch equa l to 1 foot) include: First floor Plan Second Floor Plan North, East, South and West Exterior Elevations Typical Cross Section Fretwork and Other Details CVE would like to thank the St. Vincen t National Trust, especially Morrison Blaisden for his help with arranging this project. We also want to thank the Kingstown Baptist Church who le t us examine the building. CVE is a non profit organization which recr uits volunteers from the US to help local Caribbean agencies with historic preservation projects. Volunteers on this trip included: Anne Hersh, Corning NY; Susan Rice, Telford PA; Karen Klaassen, Berthoud, CO; and Carl Berw anger, Ottawa, Canada. 2. Further Research In our limited time in St. Vincent, we were not able to locate any relevant information or older photographs of the original house We f eel research should be done to retrieve such photographs and drawings, as well as other historical information about this hous e and its inhabitants. There have been alterations to the h ouse over the years, which include window and door treatments, porch overhangs a nd roofs on the south wall, and interior room arrangements. For this reason, it is important to discover how these areas were originally treated in orde r to accurately re store the house..

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The Isaac’s House Caribbean Volunteer Expeditions April 1998 3. Site The building is located in M ontrose, approximately 30 f eet south of the Botanical Garden entrance. The road to the nort h (Largo Height) lies onl y a few feet from the northern wall of the building. Another ro ad falls about 50 feet from the south side of the house. Two masonry piers wi th pyramidal tops located close to the road focus attention on the major entrance in the south faade. A masonry and chain link fence surround most of the property. At one time the property was densely planted with trees and landscapi ng, which has since been removed by the Church. To the west of the house are remains of founda tions which were reportedly stables and other outbuildi ngs. A modern church and a modern bathroom building is also located on th is siteto the west of the house. Once again, original photogra phs or drawings are crucia l in determining the state of the buildings and lands caping in its early stages. 4. General Description of the Building Plan The Isaacs House is a two story dwelling, approximately 32 feet by 30 feet. The ground floor is built of thick masonry walls on the north and a combination of wood and masonry on the south. Three sets of exterior stairs lead to the second floor which is entirely wood construction.. The building can be recognized for its distinctive covered porch spanning three sides and a prominent double gable roof form. In plan, the house is quite symmetrical along an axis from north to south. Windows, doors, and framing are nearly identical on each side. Porches, and stairs are the only deviation from this pattern. A modern bathroom building abutting the west side of the house has become a more recent addition to the original plan. 5. Foundation The building sits on a masonry platform. The exterior grade is highest on the north end and gently slope s toward the south, where the house floor level is several steps above the grade. 6. Walls The ground floor walls consist of 22 in ch thick masonry walls in the north section, forming a 15 x 32 foot rectangular structure. The masonry is rough stone, laid in uneven courses, some 4 to 8 inches high. At corners and at openings, a yellow brick was used in a quoin effect. Th ere are square piers of brick and stone,

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The Isaac’s House Caribbean Volunteer Expeditions April 1998 approximately 22 inches by 22 inches spac ed to support the se cond floor with studs and boarding in-fill between the piers In the pier s, the typical St. Vincent custom of staggering larger stones in the cen ter of the pier with bricks at the edges is evident. Recent pointing in so me of the masonry is apparent. On the ground floor, the wood studs occur at door and window openings, and vary between 2 to 3 inches by about 4 3/4 in ches deep. There is a sill and a 12 inch plate on top. Lapped board siding is ap plied to the exterior of the studs. The second floor walls are constructed of woodstuds with wood siding on the exterior. The studs again occur at window and door openings and vary between 3 to 2 inches thick by about 4 inches deep. The corners have a square stud, and two diagonal braces. Tongue and groove horizontal siding, with a rounded b ead at the bottom wraps around the entire exterior of the second fl oor. The width of the siding varies between 4 inches and 11-1/2 inches. Th e west gable end still retains shingles, while the east gable end has newer lapped board siding. The studs and siding are in good conditi on. However, in several places the original siding has been replaced with a newer siding. This ne w siding is about 7 inches wide, and has a different profile than the original. Probing with a screwdriver for problems, produced only a few instances of rotted siding boards in isolated spots. The most evident ro tting boards can be found on the north wall where a failure of the flashing in the r oof over the north door is causing water damage. 7. Floor The ground floor consists of concrete in the north rooms and a rectangular stone flooring in approximately 18 inch squares in the south room The floor in this room steps up one step about seven feet from the west end. The second floor is framed with an intere sting system of joists and beams. The rafters run north to south and are between 2 and 3 inches thick by 5 inches. They rest, 25 inches on center, on a central beam which is 3 x 5 inches and runs east to west.. Below this beam, running north to south is another beam, that is 3 by 5 inches, placed at third points. The floor boards are about 4 inches wide. 8. Interior There appear to have been many alterations in the interior layout of the house. The ground floor has one large room on the south, and a room on the north that has been divided into two areas.

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The Isaac’s House Caribbean Volunteer Expeditions April 1998 The second floor has an L shape room and smaller square room on the north west corner. Patched boards in the flooring s uggest another previous arrangement of rooms. A lattice partition suspended from the roof runs from the north to the south through the cente r of the building.. 9. Roof The house has a distinctive double gable r oof, which is a typical form found on other buildings throughout St. Vincent. The roof pitch is about 45%, and the roof is framed with 2 x 4 inch rafters placed 27 inches on center. Rafter ties, 2 by 3 inches occur at third points of the sp an tying each pair of rafters together. Roof construction occurs without a ridge ra fter or beam. A thick metal rod ties the building in the center, and is hidden just below the lattice work. Tongue and groove board sheathing between 9 and 10 in ches wide lies on top of the rafters with corrugated metal roofing above. Be tween the two gables is a larger beam, with a series of columns some of which appear to be more recent. In areas that were probed, the roof raft ers and sheathing seemed to be in good condition, in the areas we probed. The roof ing is rusted but does not seem to be leaking. Only small sections of the gutters ar e intact, and there are many rusted and damaged gutter brackets. Downspouts do not exist. Flashing occurs at the wall junction of the small roof over the north entry and shows evidence of problems. Flashing in the big valley between the tw o gable roofs must be present and again there appears to be no evidence that the roof is leaking. 10. Doors and Windows The house has large window openingsapproximately 33 inches wide by 60 inches high. The sill height from the fl oor is about 25 inches on the second floor and about 36 inches on the ground floor. These openings have been altered recently and are presently filled with fixed wood louvers. Reportedly in the past, out-swinging louvered shutters, and pe rhaps double hung sash with glass may have been used. On the north, small aw ning roofs with corrugated metal roofing have been added above the windows. Several doors and door openings have been replaced on the ground floor. We see newer doors on the west and south faades. Door openings in the masonry wall on the exterior north wall and between the north and south rooms of the ground floor have been blocked o ff with cinder block. Up stairs, a newer double door is found on the south wall, and an apparently original wood and glass door exists on the west faade.

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The Isaac’s House Caribbean Volunteer Expeditions April 1998 11. Porches, Railings and Stairs The second floor of the house is surrounded on the west, south, and east by a four foot wide porch, covered with a low slope shed roof. Th e roof rafters are 2 x 3 inches about 25 inches on center; boar d sheathing and corrugated metal roofing make up the roofing materials. The porch floor has rafters 25 inches on center and an unpainted board deck. On the southwest corner the porch roof is extended to cover the stairs. Much of this construction appears to be more recent than the original porch roof. On the north faade are two additional r oof structures: one is a gable covering what used to be the first floor door, and th e other is a shed roof over the stairs and second floor door. Again metal corrugated roofing is used in both instances. The railings and posts which support the po rch roof are distin ctive and give the house much of its character. The posts are quite elaborate and “Victorian” in feeling. The balusters agai n are quite elaborate, an d occur about 5 inches on center. Missing sections of balusters occu r on all three sides of the building. However, the west elevation with its mi ssing balusters and unsteady railing is in the worst shape. There are three sets of exterior stairs one on the north, one on the west and one on the south. All stairs are supported by ma sonry arches and have tiles steps. The north stair is constructed with brick and has a landing at its base and on the second floor. The stair consists of 8 tread s each with 12 inch square tiles. Most treads are intact. Only a few tiles on th e first two steps are missing. The stairs on the south and west side of the house share the same concrete landing on the second floor. The west stairway has 10 tread s with four 12 inch square tiles that lead down to a concrete landing with a brick and stone base. The small landing has two treads with four 11 x 12 inch tiles. For the most part, the stairs are in good condition. However, some treads near the bottom landing are missing tiles. The south side stair is a similar condition. Again 10 treads with 4 tiles that are 9 inch square lead to a c oncrete landing. The 3’-6” wi de stairway is bounded on both sides by vertical wood siding. Again, stairs are in fairly good condition with some treads near the bottom that are missing tiles. Another small set of steps provides acces s to the lower level north room on the west side of the building. These stairs are constructed on a brick base and have stone treads all of whic h are in good condition. A complicated arrangement of steps with a cement finish exists on the south side of the building at the entran ce to the ground floor and near the base of the stair.

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The Isaac’s House Caribbean Volunteer Expeditions April 1998 12. Fretwork Fretwork can be found on the both the ex terior and interior of the building emphasizing the importance of details in creating a distinctive atmosphere. Examples of this fretwork include a r ounded rope-like pattern along the facia of the building, leafy patterns along the gable ends, and s callop patterns within the interior beam framing. In many cases, especially along the second floor balcony porch facia, the fretwork is missing and has been replaced by a pl ain board. Interior detail is somewhat intact; however, sections of fretwork and joist supports are no longer present and have not been replaced 13. Electric There is electric service to the house, with a meter on the north wall. Some outlets exist throughout the hous e. Lighting consists of bare fluorescent tubes in several rooms, and a ceiling fan can be found upstairs. 14 Summary Generally, the house remains in fairly good condition except for those items that have been discussed earlier. In some places it becomes difficult to determine what has been part of the or iginal structure and what ha d been recently modified. In still other places, it is extremely appare nt as to what has been modified. This report helps to clarify the important issues and structures that define the building character. However, in restoring a nd preserving this building, original photographs and drawings will supply insight into the details that define the Isaac’s House.

PAGE 7

The Isaac’s House Caribbean Volunteer Expeditions April 1998 TABLE OF CONTENTS 1. Introduction 2. Further Research 3. The Site 4. General Description of the Building Plan 5. Foundation 6. Walls 7. Floors 8. Interior 9. Roof 10. Doors and Windows 11. Porches, Railings and Stairs 12. Fretwork 13. Electric 14. Summary Drawings First Floor Plan Second Floor Plan Typical Section Exterior Elevations Gate Post Fretwork Photographs

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The Isaac’s House Caribbean Volunteer Expeditions April 1998

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The Isaac’s House Caribbean Volunteer Expeditions April 1998

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The Isaac’s House Caribbean Volunteer Expeditions April 1998

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The Isaac’s House Caribbean Volunteer Expeditions April 1998



PAGE 1

The Isaac’s House Caribbean Volunteer Expeditions April 1998 1. Introduction The Isaac’s House was built around 1880 by Isaacs, who was an architect, and who designed several other im portant buildings in St. Vincent. The building was occupied by the Isaacs family until 1990, when it was sold to the Kingstown Baptist Church. The house is an important example of a late 19th century wood building in St. Vincent, and should be maintained and pr eserved. The house is valuable as an historic asset and as a part of the heritage of the country. In April. 1998, Caribbean Volunteer Expe dition volunteers studied the Isaac’s House at the request of the St. Vincent National Trust. Our work consisted of measuring the house, producing scaled draw ings and preparing this brief report describing the materials and conditions of the house. The drawings show existing conditions; however, we did not include the modern toilet room building. Drawings, (at inch equa l to 1 foot) include: First floor Plan Second Floor Plan North, East, South and West Exterior Elevations Typical Cross Section Fretwork and Other Details CVE would like to thank the St. Vincen t National Trust, especially Morrison Blaisden for his help with arranging this project. We also want to thank the Kingstown Baptist Church who le t us examine the building. CVE is a non profit organization which recr uits volunteers from the US to help local Caribbean agencies with historic preservation projects. Volunteers on this trip included: Anne Hersh, Corning NY; Susan Rice, Telford PA; Karen Klaassen, Berthoud, CO; and Carl Berw anger, Ottawa, Canada. 2. Further Research In our limited time in St. Vincent, we were not able to locate any relevant information or older photographs of the original house We f eel research should be done to retrieve such photographs and drawings, as well as other historical information about this hous e and its inhabitants. There have been alterations to the h ouse over the years, which include window and door treatments, porch overhangs a nd roofs on the south wall, and interior room arrangements. For this reason, it is important to discover how these areas were originally treated in orde r to accurately re store the house..

PAGE 2

The Isaac’s House Caribbean Volunteer Expeditions April 1998 3. Site The building is located in M ontrose, approximately 30 f eet south of the Botanical Garden entrance. The road to the nort h (Largo Height) lies onl y a few feet from the northern wall of the building. Another ro ad falls about 50 feet from the south side of the house. Two masonry piers wi th pyramidal tops located close to the road focus attention on the major entrance in the south faade. A masonry and chain link fence surround most of the property. At one time the property was densely planted with trees and landscapi ng, which has since been removed by the Church. To the west of the house are remains of founda tions which were reportedly stables and other outbuildi ngs. A modern church and a modern bathroom building is also located on th is siteto the west of the house. Once again, original photogra phs or drawings are crucia l in determining the state of the buildings and lands caping in its early stages. 4. General Description of the Building Plan The Isaacs House is a two story dwelling, approximately 32 feet by 30 feet. The ground floor is built of thick masonry walls on the north and a combination of wood and masonry on the south. Three sets of exterior stairs lead to the second floor which is entirely wood construction.. The building can be recognized for its distinctive covered porch spanning three sides and a prominent double gable roof form. In plan, the house is quite symmetrical along an axis from north to south. Windows, doors, and framing are nearly identical on each side. Porches, and stairs are the only deviation from this pattern. A modern bathroom building abutting the west side of the house has become a more recent addition to the original plan. 5. Foundation The building sits on a masonry platform. The exterior grade is highest on the north end and gently slope s toward the south, where the house floor level is several steps above the grade. 6. Walls The ground floor walls consist of 22 in ch thick masonry walls in the north section, forming a 15 x 32 foot rectangular structure. The masonry is rough stone, laid in uneven courses, some 4 to 8 inches high. At corners and at openings, a yellow brick was used in a quoin effect. Th ere are square piers of brick and stone,

PAGE 3

The Isaac’s House Caribbean Volunteer Expeditions April 1998 approximately 22 inches by 22 inches spac ed to support the se cond floor with studs and boarding in-fill between the piers In the pier s, the typical St. Vincent custom of staggering larger stones in the cen ter of the pier with bricks at the edges is evident. Recent pointing in so me of the masonry is apparent. On the ground floor, the wood studs occur at door and window openings, and vary between 2 to 3 inches by about 4 3/4 in ches deep. There is a sill and a 12 inch plate on top. Lapped board siding is ap plied to the exterior of the studs. The second floor walls are constructed of woodstuds with wood siding on the exterior. The studs again occur at window and door openings and vary between 3 to 2 inches thick by about 4 inches deep. The corners have a square stud, and two diagonal braces. Tongue and groove horizontal siding, with a rounded b ead at the bottom wraps around the entire exterior of the second fl oor. The width of the siding varies between 4 inches and 11-1/2 inches. Th e west gable end still retains shingles, while the east gable end has newer lapped board siding. The studs and siding are in good conditi on. However, in several places the original siding has been replaced with a newer siding. This ne w siding is about 7 inches wide, and has a different profile than the original. Probing with a screwdriver for problems, produced only a few instances of rotted siding boards in isolated spots. The most evident ro tting boards can be found on the north wall where a failure of the flashing in the r oof over the north door is causing water damage. 7. Floor The ground floor consists of concrete in the north rooms and a rectangular stone flooring in approximately 18 inch squares in the south room The floor in this room steps up one step about seven feet from the west end. The second floor is framed with an intere sting system of joists and beams. The rafters run north to south and are between 2 and 3 inches thick by 5 inches. They rest, 25 inches on center, on a central beam which is 3 x 5 inches and runs east to west.. Below this beam, running north to south is another beam, that is 3 by 5 inches, placed at third points. The floor boards are about 4 inches wide. 8. Interior There appear to have been many alterations in the interior layout of the house. The ground floor has one large room on the south, and a room on the north that has been divided into two areas.

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The Isaac’s House Caribbean Volunteer Expeditions April 1998 The second floor has an L shape room and smaller square room on the north west corner. Patched boards in the flooring s uggest another previous arrangement of rooms. A lattice partition suspended from the roof runs from the north to the south through the cente r of the building.. 9. Roof The house has a distinctive double gable r oof, which is a typical form found on other buildings throughout St. Vincent. The roof pitch is about 45%, and the roof is framed with 2 x 4 inch rafters placed 27 inches on center. Rafter ties, 2 by 3 inches occur at third points of the sp an tying each pair of rafters together. Roof construction occurs without a ridge ra fter or beam. A thick metal rod ties the building in the center, and is hidden just below the lattice work. Tongue and groove board sheathing between 9 and 10 in ches wide lies on top of the rafters with corrugated metal roofing above. Be tween the two gables is a larger beam, with a series of columns some of which appear to be more recent. In areas that were probed, the roof raft ers and sheathing seemed to be in good condition, in the areas we probed. The roof ing is rusted but does not seem to be leaking. Only small sections of the gutters ar e intact, and there are many rusted and damaged gutter brackets. Downspouts do not exist. Flashing occurs at the wall junction of the small roof over the north entry and shows evidence of problems. Flashing in the big valley between the tw o gable roofs must be present and again there appears to be no evidence that the roof is leaking. 10. Doors and Windows The house has large window openingsapproximately 33 inches wide by 60 inches high. The sill height from the fl oor is about 25 inches on the second floor and about 36 inches on the ground floor. These openings have been altered recently and are presently filled with fixed wood louvers. Reportedly in the past, out-swinging louvered shutters, and pe rhaps double hung sash with glass may have been used. On the north, small aw ning roofs with corrugated metal roofing have been added above the windows. Several doors and door openings have been replaced on the ground floor. We see newer doors on the west and south faades. Door openings in the masonry wall on the exterior north wall and between the north and south rooms of the ground floor have been blocked o ff with cinder block. Up stairs, a newer double door is found on the south wall, and an apparently original wood and glass door exists on the west faade.

PAGE 5

The Isaac’s House Caribbean Volunteer Expeditions April 1998 11. Porches, Railings and Stairs The second floor of the house is surrounded on the west, south, and east by a four foot wide porch, covered with a low slope shed roof. Th e roof rafters are 2 x 3 inches about 25 inches on center; boar d sheathing and corrugated metal roofing make up the roofing materials. The porch floor has rafters 25 inches on center and an unpainted board deck. On the southwest corner the porch roof is extended to cover the stairs. Much of this construction appears to be more recent than the original porch roof. On the north faade are two additional r oof structures: one is a gable covering what used to be the first floor door, and th e other is a shed roof over the stairs and second floor door. Again metal corrugated roofing is used in both instances. The railings and posts which support the po rch roof are distin ctive and give the house much of its character. The posts are quite elaborate and “Victorian” in feeling. The balusters agai n are quite elaborate, an d occur about 5 inches on center. Missing sections of balusters occu r on all three sides of the building. However, the west elevation with its mi ssing balusters and unsteady railing is in the worst shape. There are three sets of exterior stairs one on the north, one on the west and one on the south. All stairs are supported by ma sonry arches and have tiles steps. The north stair is constructed with brick and has a landing at its base and on the second floor. The stair consists of 8 tread s each with 12 inch square tiles. Most treads are intact. Only a few tiles on th e first two steps are missing. The stairs on the south and west side of the house share the same concrete landing on the second floor. The west stairway has 10 tread s with four 12 inch square tiles that lead down to a concrete landing with a brick and stone base. The small landing has two treads with four 11 x 12 inch tiles. For the most part, the stairs are in good condition. However, some treads near the bottom landing are missing tiles. The south side stair is a similar condition. Again 10 treads with 4 tiles that are 9 inch square lead to a c oncrete landing. The 3’-6” wi de stairway is bounded on both sides by vertical wood siding. Again, stairs are in fairly good condition with some treads near the bottom that are missing tiles. Another small set of steps provides acces s to the lower level north room on the west side of the building. These stairs are constructed on a brick base and have stone treads all of whic h are in good condition. A complicated arrangement of steps with a cement finish exists on the south side of the building at the entran ce to the ground floor and near the base of the stair.

PAGE 6

The Isaac’s House Caribbean Volunteer Expeditions April 1998 12. Fretwork Fretwork can be found on the both the ex terior and interior of the building emphasizing the importance of details in creating a distinctive atmosphere. Examples of this fretwork include a r ounded rope-like pattern along the facia of the building, leafy patterns along the gable ends, and s callop patterns within the interior beam framing. In many cases, especially along the second floor balcony porch facia, the fretwork is missing and has been replaced by a pl ain board. Interior detail is somewhat intact; however, sections of fretwork and joist supports are no longer present and have not been replaced 13. Electric There is electric service to the house, with a meter on the north wall. Some outlets exist throughout the hous e. Lighting consists of bare fluorescent tubes in several rooms, and a ceiling fan can be found upstairs. 14 Summary Generally, the house remains in fairly good condition except for those items that have been discussed earlier. In some places it becomes difficult to determine what has been part of the or iginal structure and what ha d been recently modified. In still other places, it is extremely appare nt as to what has been modified. This report helps to clarify the important issues and structures that define the building character. However, in restoring a nd preserving this building, original photographs and drawings will supply insight into the details that define the Isaac’s House.

PAGE 7

The Isaac’s House Caribbean Volunteer Expeditions April 1998 TABLE OF CONTENTS 1. Introduction 2. Further Research 3. The Site 4. General Description of the Building Plan 5. Foundation 6. Walls 7. Floors 8. Interior 9. Roof 10. Doors and Windows 11. Porches, Railings and Stairs 12. Fretwork 13. Electric 14. Summary Drawings First Floor Plan Second Floor Plan Typical Section Exterior Elevations Gate Post Fretwork Photographs

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The Isaac’s House Caribbean Volunteer Expeditions April 1998

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The Isaac’s House Caribbean Volunteer Expeditions April 1998

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The Isaac’s House Caribbean Volunteer Expeditions April 1998

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The Isaac’s House Caribbean Volunteer Expeditions April 1998