The Georgia Trust

HAY HOUSE RESTORATION: ROOF AND CUPOLA

Roof Repair
Hay House began several critically needed restoration projects Sept. 8, 2003.

Macon general contractor Chris R. Sheridan & Co. was awarded the contract to replace the approximately 100-year-old standing seam metal roof on the main 18,000-sq.-ft. structure and on its cupola with a new copper roof. L.E. Schwartz & Son roofing contractors handled the roof replacement.

The project also included replacing the building's guttering and downspout system, waterproofing and repairing balustrades on the third floor balcony and cupola levels, and reroofing a small balcony off the music room on the second level. McLees, Boggs and Selby Architects was also involved with the project.

Tackling the Roof

The restoration team unexpectedly discovered uneven spaces between the roof boards.

The restoration team installs new decking on the second-floor balcony.

The roof and surfaces above the eaves were tackled first. During demolition of the existing roof, it was determined that the irregular roof decking would eventually have caused the roof panels to fail.

The team originally believed the roof’s original framing had 2-inch spaces between boards, so they prepared to fill those spaces with wooden slats so the gaps didn’t show through the new metal roofing. When the old roof was taken off, however, it became apparent that the gaps were in no way uniform.

During the demolition phase, additional damage was revealed. Standing water had caused the interior gutters to fail from moisture buildup or wet rot. The cupola’s exterior walls consist of metal cladding over wood. When this area was uncovered, all the wood wall decking had disappeared from dry rot.

Next: The Front Porch Roof and Balustrade
The front porch roof and balustrade above the front steps had also suffered as a result of an original design that allowed water to collect and drip on the front steps. The resulting restoration of the original porch symmetry eliminated the interior gutters over the steps and allowed water to flow to downspouts on the left and right of the porch roof.

Funding
The roof project was funded by $445,600 in federal transportation enhancement funds (ISTEA) distributed through the Georgia Department of Transportation and a required local match of $111,400, raised by Hay House in the late 1990s.

The federal transportation program provides funding for road construction as well as for historic preservation and civic projects. “(The DOT is) not only about building roads and bridges,” said Ward Edwards, the Third Congressional District representative on the state DOT board. “This is an opportunity to preserve our history for years to come.”

Brendan Froeschl, a senior craftsman in the Jekyll Island Authority Historic Preservation Division, works to restore a deteriorated window from the Hay House cupola.

Additional funds provided by grants and fund raisers were used to repair the balustrades and columns on the main level front porch and the frieze board over the front porch, and to partially restore the cupola interior.

Partial restoration of the Hay House cupola was funded by $10,000 netted from a wine-tasting fund raiser in the fall of 2002, a $7,400 Georgia Heritage grant from the Historic Preservation Division of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, and a grant from E.J. Grassmann Trust. In addition, historic preservation experts for The Jekyll Island Authority donated their services to restore the window sashes and shutters in the cupola.

Local Support for a National Landmark
Noting that The Georgia Trust is a nonprofit organization, funds such as those provided by the transportation enhancement program are invaluable in helping preserve the Hay House site.

Macon Mayor C. Jack Ellis said the City of Macon, the local sponsor for the roof project, is pleased to participate in this public/private partnership with the Georgia DOT and The Georgia Trust. Ellis called the project “a wise investment that will pay off for our city now and in the future.”

Former Bibb County Commission Chair Tommy Olmstead, who as then-mayor of Macon signed the original application for federal transportation enhancement funding in fiscal year 1997, also noted the “tremendous impact that Hay House has on tourism and economic development in Bibb County and the state.”

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