Friday, January 04, 2008

Group discusses how to save historic Florence adobe

[Source: Florence Reminder] -- A charrette led by architect Stephanie Rowe was held recently for the historic Celaya, Long, Sweeney House at 170 West Ruggles St. "A charrette is a collaborative session in which a group of designers drafts a solution to a design problem." Participating in this session were: Connie Hills, Jerry Ravert, John Edwards, Kate Edwards, Jess Knudson, Bonnie Bariola, Bob Ingulli, and Jim Garrison. The group first met at the site and examined the building. State Historic Preservation Officer Jim Garrison explained several distinct differences in this building from other historic adobe buildings. He said the vertical cracks in the walls in this building are different because adobe walls usually have horizontal or angular cracks. Once Jim explained that square nails were used prior to 1890, some members of the group found square nails, verifying the house had been built prior to 1890.

Since Connie Hills lived in this house when she was young and her relatives lived in it until it was abandoned after a storm in 1997, she was able to provide specific information about the original building. The original windows were still in place when she lived here. New energy efficient windows should be installed that are more compatible with the historic character of the building than the ones that have replaced the original windows. Jerry Ravert pointed out the importance of rehabilitating the high lintel above the kitchen door. Together the group determined the original building had only two rooms with the long room across the front on Ruggles and a smaller room to the northeast creating an "L" shape building. A kitchen was added later to the northwest side of the long room creating an almost square building. A porch on the west side was enclosed in 1970 to make a small bedroom and a bathroom. Kate Edwards suggested this room be saved if possible and suggested it could be used for storage or a small office space in the rehabilitation. [Note: To read the full article, click here. Photo source: Florence Reminder.]