Built in 1907 as the Andrew Carnegie Library, the building that now houses the historical society has weathered many a storm. And that's part of the problem. The old tile roof has seen better days.
Dick Shaffer, who is completing a two year term at president of the HSG, sees the roof as the culmination of his time at the helm. "The building is not falling down," he said in his column in the Nov/Dec 2011 issue of Our Heritage, "and to ensure that it doesn't, we are going to put a new roof on it."
The old tiles are being replaced with identical tiles. The same factory made both sets of tiles..
I talked with Shaffer today as we stood in front of the building which houses the museum. He said the tiles weigh "about a ton per square". There roof requires 40 squares (a square is a hundred square feet) so there was - and will be - 80,000 pounds of roofing material there.
The cost for the replacement roof is about $105,000.
"That may seem high but that includes copper gutters and flashing and restoration of the box gutters and decorative upper portion of the roof," Shaffer wrote. The downspouts, he said, will remain galvanized metal.
A view from across Plum Street (at the site of the current Germantown Public Library) gives an overview of the work in progress. The old tiles have been removed and are stacked neatly at the base of the building. Today workers are placing weatherproofing on the roof.
The old tiles seem in generally good shape. Roofing tiles are considered to have a life span of about 50 years but these have been in place for over a century.
Workers address the chimney on the southeast side of the building. Roof openings, particularly chimneys, tend to leak if extra care is not taken when a building is roofed.
If the weather cooperates, the new roof is expected to be completed yet this year.
A week later (12/03/11), the new tiles have been delivered and placed in the yard of the HSG, still plastic-wrapped. Workers have taken advantage of the perfect weather (a 55° high temperature today) and have begun placing the new tiles on the roof.
Heavy rain is expected to begin tomorrow so it appears anything done today will be all that's accomplished through mid week.
12/04/11: It's raining steadily today, though not so hard (yet), and the work progresses, rain or not. I'd be a little apprehensive about slipping on the wet tiles - not to mention the electrical equipment the guys are using. But I suppose the thrust is to get the work done, as quickly as possible, with two, even three inches of rain expected over the next couple of days.