The United States of America’s capital city of Washington D.C., is a perfect example of a cultural melting pot. Historic structures in the District draw inspiration from antiquity, classical antiquity, medieval antiquity, medieval Europe, and 19th-century France.
Despite the constant proliferation of cranes and building projects throughout the city, Washington, D.C. retains much of its historic character. If you ever wondered what is the oldest building in Washington D.C, read this article.
The Old Stone House
The Old Stone House, built in 1765 in what was then the British colony of Maryland, was already fifty-nine years old when the British seized Washington in 1814. While it is now conserved for its architecture, it has initially been saved due to a case of mistaken identity and a wish to commemorate George Washington (1732-1799).
Although few precise records from the families who owned the Old Stone House survived, we may learn a great deal about their lives from the hose’s design and the personal belongings listed in wills and bills of sale.
According to the National Park Service, Christopher and Rachael Layman moved from Pennsylvania to the flourishing port of Georgetown on the Potomac River with their two sons in 1764. They purchased Lot Three, a property facing Bridge Street, for one pound, ten shillings (now named M Street NW).
The Laymans built this one-room house with native blue fieldstone quarried approximately two miles upriver and sturdy oak boards hewn with a pit saw. The constructors’ arduous labor and skill are evident in the well-placed stones and evenly-laid ceiling beams. The scars left by the huge saw used to cut the ceiling beams in the Layman family’s room can be seen (the bookstore).
The Laymans’ basic dwelling was functional: two- to three-foot-thick stone walls and packed dirt flooring sheltered the family from harsh weather, while low ceilings conserved heat generated by the hearth fire.
Residents of the residence planted herbs, vegetables, and fruit trees on the exterior. The family’s meat, milk, cheese, eggs, and butter were generated by a limited number of milk cows, hogs, and hens. On the site, a modest amount of tobacco was also grown. Enslaved African Americans frequently grew this labor-intensive and land-degrading crop.
Old Stone House remained privately owned until 1953, when the federal government purchased it for $90,000 in response to local residents who had developed an appreciation for the house’s historical significance. The home housed offices and the Parkway Motor Company, a used car dealership whose paved lot was located where the English-style garden currently stands.
Before the National Park Service’s (NPS) 1960 opening of the house to the public, significant historical preservation work was done to restore the interior to its pre-1800 appearance. Residents of Georgetown donated the majority of the colonial furnishings found in the house today. The National Park Service purchased and returned to the house John Suter, Jr.’s grandfather clock, which was built in the house over two hundred years ago.
Today, Rock Creek Park manages Old Stone House and several other Georgetown parks, including Georgetown Waterfront Park, Dumbarton Oaks Park, Montrose Park, and Francis Scott Key Memorial Park.
Masonry of Historic Buildings
The city of Washington, DC, is a beautiful and historic place to visit. Small, non-national monument buildings are an integral element of the historic architectural fabric of Washington, DC. Our city’s unique stonework and historical significance are well-known and respected.
In Washington, DC, most buildings and structures are at least a century old. Thorough knowledge of the materials and elements employed in the significant masonry developments throughout the last century is essential to keep pace with the ever-changing masonry industry.
In the past, lime mortars were made by burning, slaking, and aging in the right conditions. Lime was and continues to be a significant component of historic mortar restoration. Modern cement and concrete and the most prevalent pozzolanic and hydraulic cement are different from lime and Niagara mortars.
That difference is crucial because the regular suppliers only offer mortars that will severely harm old bricks. These historic structures can only be preserved with the proper lime mortars, which quality-driven D.C. professionals can only provide and install.
Low-temperature kiln-fired brick masonry and tapestry brick masonry are two major historic masonry classes. Conservation, restoration, and protection of historic structures and monuments form the foundation of our work. These technologies have ancient origins, but their knowledge has been mostly forgotten over time. In our case, we’ve honed our skills in heritage masonry repair over many years of practice and education.
There are several terms for the removal of degraded or damaged brick mortar joints, but the most commonly used one is brick tuckpointing. Only a few companies provide pointing and restoration services for historic brick buildings.
Water, moisture, and ice may quickly deteriorate a historic facade; thus, this procedure is necessary to keep them in good condition. Seasonal freeze-thaw cycles can weaken a brick facade without tuckpointing. We’re here to help, and if done right, this job can last for more than half a century.
Learn more about masonry by contacting Paragon Remodeling
If you’re looking for tuckpointing in Washington, DC, or brick restoration, you need a contractor who knows the ins and outs of brick masonry techniques. It’s critical, especially for older structures, to choose mortar specific to the brick’s age and won’t damage the facade.
Get started on your next tuckpointing project by contacting us today.