Group Title: Historic St. Augustine: Plaza: Constitution Monument
Title: [Letter to William R. Adams]
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00095508/00023
 Material Information
Title: Letter to William R. Adams
Series Title: Historic St. Augustine: Plaza: Constitution Monument
Physical Description: Correspondence
Language: English
Creator: Steinbach, Robert H.
Publication Date: 2001
Physical Location:
Box: 8
Divider: Plaza - General Info.
Folder: Plaza: Constitution Monument
 Subjects
Subject: Saint Augustine (Fla.)
Plaza de la Constitucion (Saint Augustine, Fla.)
Constitution Plaza (Saint Augustine, Fla.)
Spatial Coverage: North America -- United States of America -- Florida -- Saint Johns -- Saint Augustine
Coordinates: 29.892493 x -81.312335
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00095508
Volume ID: VID00023
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.

Full Text
Robert H. Steinbach
Historic Preservation Consultant

5407 Riverside Drive
Yankeetown, FL 34498
352/447-3430


William R. Adams, Director
Historic Preservation & Heritage Tourism
City of St. Augustine
P.O. Box 210
St. Augustine, FL 32085-021
February 21, 2001



Dear Bill,

I have reviewed all of the readily available research material relevant to the
Constitution Monument. The following is a synopsis of that material, as well as
the results of an examination of the monument after cleaning and
recommendations.
1. The monument was constructed of coqunia shellstone and a lime/sand
mortar. The work was done in January and February of 1814. There is no
mention of granite for the steps. The time frame does not seem to allow
sufficient time (normally three months) to properly slack the lime to produce a
quality lime putty.
2. The pencil drawing done by a French-Canadian girl ca. 1814 shows steps.
These could possibly be coquina which were later replaced by granite.
3. The minutes of the town council include a reference to the perilla or pear-
shaped ball on the top of the monument. The current ball is round. An
examination of all of the drawings and photographs does not resolve this
question of shape.
4. Repairs were made to the monument in 1844. The nature of these is not
known.
5. John Gardner examined the monument in 1985. He noted recent repairs with
portland cement.
6. Gardner did extensive work on the monument in the summer of 1986.
Charles Tingley says that he visited the site on an almost daily basis. Claims
that Gardner replaced the ball on the top because the iron rod had rusted and
broken the original. Doesn't remember exactly what else Gardner did, but he
worked on it for a long time. Neither the City nor the Historical Society has
any record of what Gardner did nor the materials he used.




7. An article in the Skylight magazine dated August 1988 includes an interview
with Gardner in the summer of 1986, as well as several pictures showing the
monument surrounded with scaffolding.

Mr. Gardner pointed out where the coquina had deteriorated
severely, along the base and corners of the obelisk as well as
around the plaques.. By examining below the outer layer of
cement finish, Mr. Gardner discovered how the profile of the
monument had changed since 1813; the molding at the base
of the shaft was altered during and earlier repair job. He has
not determined when, "perhaps during the 1920's' when the
city undertook beautification projects in the downtown area. I
have compared the finish on the obelisk with the foundations
under the lions by the bridge, erected in 1926-27. Similar
cements were used on the two."
"We intend to restore the monument as nearly as possible to
its original design.. Our cement is a close match. We are not
using commercial masonry cements, however. Commercial
cements are hard but brittle, and they don't hold up well.
Rather, we got sand from the coquina pits on Holmes
Boulevard, where I found sand which most closely duplicates
the original stucco on the monument. The coquina used to
construct the monument in 1813 came from across the street
(present site of Trinity Episcopal Church) from the rubble of
the old Palacio Episcopal, which had burned down. When we
are done here, the monument will be ready to stand for
another couple of hundred years."

8. Historic Property Associates examined the monument in July of 1988. They
found that the stucco patches on the base had deteriorated, the base molding
were badly chipped, and that the stucco covering the granite step was
missing in a number of places. The upper portion was covered with mold and
mildew. They also noted both gray and red paint or limewash under the
upper moiding or cornice. Samples were taken and analyzed by Frank Welch,
who confirmed the material was a lime wash, with the gray being the earliest.
He provided Monsell color matches for these. In September 1988 HPA
attempted to stabilize the stucco patches placed on the base by Gardner
using polymer adhesives. This proved to be less than successful. They also
removed the original large tablet on the east side and replaced it with the
replica that had been installed on the west side. The masonic emblem was
cut into the replica by Joseph Segal, using the original as a pattern.
9. The upper portion of the monument was cleaned by City crews on February
8, 2001. A bucket truck was employed to clean the obelisk and to examine it.
The finish is somewhat deteriorated with a number of small cracks and holes.
A portion of the base was cleaned. The base stucco is in very poor condition
as is the stucco on the step. Two patches of a hard cement-like material with




charcoal flects were noted. These occurred on the north and south sides
where the shaft flares to the cornice. The same type of patch was also noted
on several areas of the base. The balance of the stucco on the shaft and
most of the base appears to be the work of Gardner.

I would recommend that the stucco on the shaft proper be analyzed to determine
if Gardner added portland cement to the mix. Recent work has shown that
segregation (the cement separates from the lime as the mortar dries and
hardens) is a major hazard of gauging lime mortars with cement. Mixes of 1:1:6
are unlikely to segregate, but any mix with less cement than that that are likely to
fail. Kathy Deagan knows of a geologist at U of F that probably could do the
analysis. The shaft should also be sounded with a hammer to see if it is still firmly
adhered to the substrate. Should the stucco fail either the chemical or manual
tests, the material should be stripped from the substrate and a new non-hydraulic
lime stucco applied. Should it pass the tests, a skim coat of lime stucco could be
applied, followed by three coats of limewash. The unsound stucco on the base,
from the cornice down, should be removed and replaced with a two coat non-
hydraulic lime stucco, followed by three coats of lime wash. A scaffold will have
to be erected in either case. Full size profiles of the moldings will have to be
made before work proceeds.
A possible replacement for the limewash is silicate paint. This material has a
pore size that allows the free passage of vapor but are too small to prevent the
ingress of driven rain. The inherent nature of a silicate paint is that of a semi-
permeable membrane. It is also unaffected by acid rain and has a considerably
longer service life than lime wash.

RECOMMENDATIONS:

1. Remove a sample of stucco from the obelisk and have it tested.
2. Finish cleaning the base.
3. Make full size profiles of the moldings.
4. Scaffold the entire monument.
5. Prepare specifications.
6. Locate sources) for materials.
7. Contract for work.
8. Document work in progress.
9. Prepare final report on work done.

I would estimate a minimum of two weeks for the stucco work if the old work on
the obelisk does not have to be removed. Three weeks if it does. A three-coat
lime wash finish will add at least another week to the work.


Sincerely,

Robert H. Steinbach




Robert H. Steinbach
Historic Preservation Consultant

5407 Riverside Drive
Yankeetown, FL 34498
352/447-3430


William R. Adams, Director
Historic Preservation & Heritage Tourism
City of St. Augustine
P.O. Box 210
St. Augustine, FL 32085-021
February 21, 2001



Dear Bill,

I have reviewed all of the readily available research material relevant to the
Constitution Monument. The following is a synopsis of that material, as well as
the results of an examination of the monument after cleaning and
recommendations.
1. The monument was constructed of coqunia shellstone and a lime/sand
mortar. The work was done in January and February of 1814. There is no
mention of granite for the steps. The time frame does not seem to allow
sufficient time (normally three months) to properly slack the lime to produce a
quality lime putty.
2. The pencil drawing done by a French-Canadian girl ca. 1814 shows steps.
These could possibly be coquina which were later replaced by granite.
3. The minutes of the town council include a reference to the perilla or pear-
shaped ball on the top of the monument. The current ball is round. An
examination of all of the drawings and photographs does not resolve this
question of shape.
4. Repairs were made to the monument in 1844. The nature of these is not
known.
5. John Gardner examined the monument in 1985. He noted recent repairs with
portland cement.
6. Gardner did extensive work on the monument in the summer of 1986.
Charles Tingley says that he visited the site on an almost daily basis. Claims
that Gardner replaced the ball on the top because the iron rod had rusted and
broken the original. Doesn't remember exactly what else Gardner did, but he
worked on it for a long time. Neither the City nor the Historical Society has
any record of what Gardner did nor the materials he used.




7. An article in the Skylight magazine dated August 1988 includes an interview
with Gardner in the summer of 1986, as well as several pictures showing the
monument surrounded with scaffolding.

Mr. Gardner pointed out where the coquina had deteriorated
severely, along the base and corners of the obelisk as well as
around the plaques.. By examining below the outer layer of
cement finish, Mr. Gardner discovered how the profile of the
monument had changed since 1813; the molding at the base
of the shaft was altered during and earlier repair job. He has
not determined when, "perhaps during the 1920's' when the
city undertook beautification projects in the downtown area. I
have compared the finish on the obelisk with the foundations
under the lions by the bridge, erected in 1926-27. Similar
cements were used on the two."
"We intend to restore the monument as nearly as possible to
its original design.. Our cement is a close match. We are not
using commercial masonry cements, however. Commercial
cements are hard but brittle, and they don't hold up well.
Rather, we got sand from the coquina pits on Holmes
Boulevard, where I found sand which most closely duplicates
the original stucco on the monument. The coquina used to
construct the monument in 1813 came from across the street
(present site of Trinity Episcopal Church) from the rubble of
the old Palacio Episcopal, which had burned down. When we
are done here, the monument will be ready to stand for
another couple of hundred years."

8. Historic Property Associates examined the monument in July of 1988. They
found that the stucco patches on the base had deteriorated, the base molding
were badly chipped, and that the stucco covering the granite step was
missing in a number of places. The upper portion was covered with mold and
mildew. They also noted both gray and red paint or limewash under the
upper moiding or cornice. Samples were taken and analyzed by Frank Welch,
who confirmed the material was a lime wash, with the gray being the earliest.
He provided Monsell color matches for these. In September 1988 HPA
attempted to stabilize the stucco patches placed on the base by Gardner
using polymer adhesives. This proved to be less than successful. They also
removed the original large tablet on the east side and replaced it with the
replica that had been installed on the west side. The masonic emblem was
cut into the replica by Joseph Segal, using the original as a pattern.
9. The upper portion of the monument was cleaned by City crews on February
8, 2001. A bucket truck was employed to clean the obelisk and to examine it.
The finish is somewhat deteriorated with a number of small cracks and holes.
A portion of the base was cleaned. The base stucco is in very poor condition
as is the stucco on the step. Two patches of a hard cement-like material with




charcoal flects were noted. These occurred on the north and south sides
where the shaft flares to the cornice. The same type of patch was also noted
on several areas of the base. The balance of the stucco on the shaft and
most of the base appears to be the work of Gardner.

I would recommend that the stucco on the shaft proper be analyzed to determine
if Gardner added portland cement to the mix. Recent work has shown that
segregation (the cement separates from the lime as the mortar dries and
hardens) is a major hazard of gauging lime mortars with cement. Mixes of 1:1:6
are unlikely to segregate, but any mix with less cement than that that are likely to
fail. Kathy Deagan knows of a geologist at U of F that probably could do the
analysis. The shaft should also be sounded with a hammer to see if it is still firmly
adhered to the substrate. Should the stucco fail either the chemical or manual
tests, the material should be stripped from the substrate and a new non-hydraulic
lime stucco applied. Should it pass the tests, a skim coat of lime stucco could be
applied, followed by three coats of limewash. The unsound stucco on the base,
from the cornice down, should be removed and replaced with a two coat non-
hydraulic lime stucco, followed by three coats of lime wash. A scaffold will have
to be erected in either case. Full size profiles of the moldings will have to be
made before work proceeds.
A possible replacement for the limewash is silicate paint. This material has a
pore size that allows the free passage of vapor but are too small to prevent the
ingress of driven rain. The inherent nature of a silicate paint is that of a semi-
permeable membrane. It is also unaffected by acid rain and has a considerably
longer service life than lime wash.

RECOMMENDATIONS:

1. Remove a sample of stucco from the obelisk and have it tested.
2. Finish cleaning the base.
3. Make full size profiles of the moldings.
4. Scaffold the entire monument.
5. Prepare specifications.
6. Locate sources) for materials.
7. Contract for work.
8. Document work in progress.
9. Prepare final report on work done.

I would estimate a minimum of two weeks for the stucco work if the old work on
the obelisk does not have to be removed. Three weeks if it does. A three-coat
lime wash finish will add at least another week to the work.


Sincerely,

Robert H. Steinbach




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