HISTORIC MASSACHUSETTS Old City Hall, 45 School Street Boston, MA 02108 617-723-3383 • Fax 617-523

-3782 www.historicmass.org


Mark Your Calendar!
Hancock Shaker Village, PO Box 927, Pittsfield, MA
Friday, July 19 – August 3 Summer Farm Camp For program and registration info, contact the New England Heritage Breeds Conservancy at 413-443-8356 Sat. and Sun., July 27 & 28, 9:30 AM – 5:00 PM Age of Iron demonstration Sat. and Sun., August 24 & 25, 9:30 AM – 5:00 PM Hancock Shaker Village Antiques Show For more info call 413-443-0188 or visit their website: www.hancockshakervillage.org

New England Chapter, Society of Architectural Historians 141 Cambridge Street, Boston, MA
Saturday morning, September 7 Fenway Walking Tour, Boston Saturday, October 5 Tour of Kennebunk, Maine Thursday evening, November 7 “Nationalism in Turkish Architecture” Lecture by scholar Sybel Bozdogan. To be held in the Boston area. For more info about these events call NE/SAH Pres. Martha McNamara at 617-367-1725 or email mcnamara@maine.edu.

Harrison Gray Otis House, Boston, MA. For more info about above two events call 617-227-3956. Saturday, September 21, 10:00 – 11:30 AM Modern Neighbors: Walking Tour of the Woods End Colony Gropius House, Lincoln, MA. Saturday, September 28, 10:00 AM – 3:30 PM Exploring First Period Architecture Browne House, Watertown, MA. For more info about above two events call 781-2598098.

Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities 141 Cambridge Street, Boston, MA
Wednesday, August 14, 12:15 – 1:00 PM The Union Oyster House: A Boston Landmark Rediscovered, Lecture by Arthur Krim Old West Church, Boston. For more info about this event call 617-277-3957 ext. 270. Sunday, September 15, 1:00 – 4:00 PM Community Open House, Winslow Crocker House, Yarmouthport, MA Thursday, September 19, 6:00 – 8:30 PM Twilight Tour with Bostonians at Home

2002 Massachusetts Historic Preservation Conference
“The Economics of Preservation” Friday, September 27, New Bedford, MA Complete schedule and registration materials will be available in August. For more info call the Massachusetts Historical Commission at 617-727-8470 Leadership Training Conference Saturday, September 28, New Bedford, MA Program for Leadership Training Conference to be made available at a later date. For more info call Historic Massachusetts at 617723-3383

Hardwick Community Fair Rte. 32A, Hardwick, MA
Fri., August 16, 7:00 PM – 10:00 PM and Sat., August 17, 9:00 AM – 3:30 PM The 240th Hardwick Fair, “The Oldest Fair in the United States.” For more info call Lar ry Duquette at 413-4778238 or email DukeinHardwick@webtv.net.

The Judah Baker Windmill, Yarmouth, a successful Massachusetts Preservation Projects Fund (MPPF) project. See page 2 for information regarding the current status of the MPPF.

Photo: Courtesy of the Massachusetts Historical Commission

Vol. 17, NO. 2



In this issue From the Executive Director ............................2 Annual Preservation Awards Dinner..................3 “Fundamentals”..........................Technical Insert

Endangered Update ..........................................9 Mark Your Calendar! Upcoming Events ..............................Back Cover

From the Executive Director
Historic preservation and the Massachusetts Preservation Projects Fund (MPPF) have recently suffered two significant setbacks.
Elsa Fitzgerald, the Assistant Director at the Massachusetts Historical Commission (MHC) who served all of us so well for twenty-one years, has retired. Elsa showed us the way time and time again as she patiently worked with hundreds of communities. With her generous attitude toward the public, she created MHC’s reputation as “approachable bureaucrats”. The high point of her career was her oversight of the MPPF. Elsa’s efforts have earned her a Lifetime Achievement Award from Historic Massachusetts, which was presented at our recent dinner at the Copley Plaza. In addition, the MPPF has been lost due to the state’s current fiscal constraints. Since the MPPF’s inception in 1984, MHC has awarded over 550 competitive matching grants to projects in over 155 communities, for a total of $41 million dollars! This represents a total of well over $80 million dollars invested in historic resources in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The MPPF is a mini “jobs bill” program, since the fund only reimburses for actual construction work. The MPPF has been funded through the legislature and administered by the Secretary of the Commonwealth’s Division, the MHC. Secretary Bill Galvin continues to be a strong voice for preservation and the reauthorization of funding for the program. The cover of this issue of Preservation and People showcases just one of the hundreds of successful MPPF projects in Massachusetts, the Judah Baker Windmill in Yarmouth. The windmill was constructed in 1791 overlooking Grand Cove in what is now known as Dennis. After being relocated on three separate occasions, the mill was finally given to the Town of Yarmouth. In the early 1990’s, the windmill had fallen into disrepair, prompting the town to appropriate $100,000 for its restoration. Half the money was to come from available funds and half was to be borrowed. This money could only be appropriated if the Town received a MPPF grant from MHC that could be used to pay back the borrowed funds. With $56,000 of MPPF support, this complicated project was completed. Without the MPPF grant, this restoration project would have never been initiated, much less completed. This same scenario has been played out hundreds of times; in most cases, the restoration of these 550 reuse/restoration projects would never have occurred without MPPF. We haven’t even begun to factor the economic impact of the local funds match and the ramifications of the hundreds of jobs created by so many restoration projects.


Clarissa Rowe, Chair of the Board Otile McManus, Vice Chair Samuel B. Knight, Jr., Treasurer Claudia Sauermann Wu, Clerk

Board of Directors
Board of Directors Katherine F. Abbott James Alexander, FAIA Barbara Bashevkin John F. Bok, Esq. Carol Bratley Maurice Childs, FAIA Vin Cipolla Anthony Consigli Katherine D. Flynn Coughlin Paul A. Faraca Joan E. Goody, FAIA Allen F. Johnson Frank Keefe Robert H. Kuehn, Jr. Richard Lundgren Paul J. Martini Paul J. McGinley, AICP Marion Pressley, FASLA Thomas H. Schwartz Victor J. Walker, FASLA

David Leach, Chair Katherine F. Abbott Eleanor G. Ames Peter Aucella Ann Beha, FAIA Arthur and Jean Bennett Shary Page Berg Charles Beveridge Richard Candee Marcia M. Cini, Esq. Rolf Diamant Grace Friary Ruth Geoffroy John F. Furlong, FASLA Martha D. Hamilton Gary R. Hilderbrand, ASLA Robin Karson David R. Keller Patrick A. T. Lee Arleyn Levee Barbara Levy Ellen J. Lipsey Wendy Nicholas Julia B. O’Brien Bruce Polishook Christine Rinaldo Michael Roberts Gretchen G. Schuler S. Christopher Scott Stanley M. Smith Antone G. Souza, Jr. Jane Stirgwolt Charles M. Sullivan Wesley T. Ward Patricia L. Weslowski Tobias Yarmolinksy Sally Zimmerman

What can we do about this Preservation Projects Fund setback?
Instead of tilting at windmills like Don Quixote, we preservationists must come together with a strategy that alerts legislators to the absolute necessity of MPPF. Historic Massachusetts has taken the lead in gathering a Preservation Coalition with MHC, The National Trust, Boston Preservation Alliance, Historic Boston Inc., Boston Landmarks as well as WHALE in New Bedford, Preservation Worcester, Historic Salem, and the cities of Lowell and Cambridge. This group has been meeting for several months. From 1989 through 1995, MPPF was not funded. As activists for historic preservation, we cannot allow a six-year hiatus to happen again. We must convince the legislature to authorize new monies to the Fund as soon as possible. As a preservation coalition, we are discussing the benefits of hiring a legislative agent to assist us in promoting the value of MPPF, as well as several other preservation legislative initiatives. I would like to hear from you. Let me or my counterparts in the Coalition know your thoughts and ideas. We must not allow another year to pass without MPPF.

Jim Igoe, Executive Director Sarah DiSano, Program Coordinator Kate Ranweiler, Office Manager

Jim Igoe


Preservation and People, Summer 2002

HISTORIC MASSACHUSETTS! Our strength lies in the working partnership we have forged with people throughout the Commonwealth. We welcome all people and organizations who care about the preservation of our historic and cultural resources. Our goal is to encourage the weaving of these resources into the social and economic fabric of Massachusetts life in this new century.

Please indicate your choice of Membership Category.
K Preservation Leader: $2500 or more K Sponsor: $250 or more K Donor: $100 or more K Family/Organization: $50 or more K Individual: $35 K Seniors and Students: $15 K I would like to give a gift membership to the individual(s)
listed below.

New and Renewed Memberships
March 1 to May 31, 2002
Margaret O. Alexander Elizabeth M. Ames Mary Ames Peter J. Aucella Berkshire Opera Company Jean Allen Bird Bricklayers and Allied Craftsmen Union Local No. 3 Carol Bratley/Bratley Associates, Inc. Brookline Preservation Commission Concord Square Development Company, Inc. Ron Couture A. M. Creighton, Jr. Tanya M. Cushman Sherri S. Cutler, AIA/Ecodesign, Inc. Daniel Dube Edward Bellamy Memorial Assoc. Thomas J. Elmore Minxie & Jim Fannin Marilyn Fenollosa David Fixler Rosanne A. Foley Framingham Planning and Economic Development Friends of Buttonwood Park Deborah Gray Nancy M. Hahn Marlene & John Harrington Harwich Historical Commission Historic Salem, Inc. Pamela P Howland . Ipswich Historical Commission Gail Isaksen Jean P Kefferstan . Elena Kingsland Lara Kritzer Virginia M. Lawrence Henry Lee Ellen J. Lipsey Mr. & Mrs. George M. Lovejoy, Jr. Judith Lund John & Lorna Mack Veronica McClure Judith B. McDonough Paul J. McGinley/McGinley Hart & Associates Maureen Meister William B. Osgood Cristina N. Prochilo Freda Rebelsky Carlton F. Rezendes Daniel L. Romanow & B. Andrew Zelermyer Margaret D. Rosa Edward Stanley Marcia D. Starkey Didier O. Thomas Delores Viarengo Joseph Vera Ed White Debra Wolf Mr. & Mrs. John M. Woolsey, Jr. Yarmouth Historical Commission

Please make check(s) payable to Historic Massachusetts and mail to: Historic Massachusetts, Old City Hall 45 School Street, Boston, MA 02108 Name________________________________________ From ________________________________________ Address ______________________________________ City ______________State Phone ____ Zip __________


Email ________________________________________ Historic Massachusetts is a 501 (c) (3) organization. Membership contributions are fully tax deductible.

PRESERVATION and PEOPLE is a membership benefit of Historic Massachusetts. For additional membership information please call 617-723-3383. Historic Massachusetts can also be reached over the Internet. Check out our website for email addresses, information and upcoming events: www.historicmass.org.

Congratulations to

Historic Massachusetts Inc.
and its new Executive Director, James Igoe

Interested in placing an ad in Preservation and People?
Please contact Historic Massachusetts at 617-723-3383 for advertising rates and conditions.

Summer 2002, Preservation and People


Zoning Reform Needed To Fight Sprawl
By Jeffrey R. Lacy, AICP

A “drive in the country” these days may provoke disturbing observations about the form land development is taking in the Commonwealth.

One hundred acre ANR development in a rural Massachusetts town.
Courtesy of MDC Division of Watershed Management.

Commercial strips, low-density residential subdivisions, traffic congestion, wall-to-wall parking and the relentless consumption of open land are all symptoms of a national problem – sprawl. Although not unique to New England, sprawl is particularly evident here, where it stands in stark contrast with traditional settlement patterns. Much of rural New England still retains the flavor of the colonial period – compact town centers surrounded by a “working landscape” of fields and forest. But, as the lines between “town” and “country” start to blur, our regional identity and sense of place have suffered. “Anywhere U.S.A.” is not that far away. Smart Growth planning is viewed as the antidote to sprawl. Many states have embraced these principals; unfortunately, our Commonwealth has not. Ironically, Massachusetts, where the term was first coined in 1987, was recently identified by the American Planning Association as one of the 28 states with the most outdated

land use laws, many traceable back to the models of the 1920’s. In many ways Massachusetts is a “model” for its environmental laws and land acquisition programs; however, the same cannot be said for the state laws governing planning, zoning, and subdivision – the building blocks of land-use control. In Massachusetts, the responsibility for land planning and the authority to regulate development rest with its cities and towns. However, the state laws which set the framework for this local control contain unclear or restrictive provisions that effectively deprive municipalities of the authority consistent with their responsibilities. These impediments make municipal planning and land use control all but toothless. Massachusetts is the only state that permits unlimited creation of building lots along existing roadways without review as a subdivision. These “approval not required” (ANR) lots are the predominant form of land development in rural towns, effectively determining their future more so than any land use plan. The resulting roadside sprawl has become a dominant and depressing feature of the landscape, causing aesthetic damage, drainage nightmares and safety hazards. Again, this is unprecedented in other states. Despite our leadership role in the 1980’s, Massachusetts has lagged behind in achieving anything meaningful in smart growth. Our state is still zoned to sprawl. Those concerned must send a clear message to the legislature – that planning, zoning and subdivision reform be put on the front burner now! Jeffrey R. Lacy is a professional land use planner who lives in Shutesbury.


Preservation and People, Summer 2002

Above: Left to Right: Clarissa Rowe, HMI Chair, Betsy Shure Gross, recipient of the Paul E. Tsongas Award, Thalia Tsongas Schlesinger. Right: Robert and Carol Russell, recipients of the Frederick Law Olmsted Award, and family.

Historic Massachusetts Annual Preservation Awards Dinner
n Wednesday, May 8th, Historic Massachusetts held its annual Preservation Awards Dinner at the Copley Plaza Hotel in Boston. Approximately four hundred people attended the Dinner, making it Historic Massachusetts most successful event ever! The evening was not only successful in building organizational support, it was also a magnificent opportunity to honor several of the Commonwealth’s preservation leaders. Thank you to everyone who helped to make this event so extraordinary through their generous gifts and enthusiastic participation!
Left to Right: Chip Gillespie, WHALE President, and Tony Souza, WHALE Executive Director, recipients of the Charles W. Eliot II Award, and Jim Igoe, HMI Executive Director.


Photos courtesy of Joey Libby Photography

Elsa N. Fitzgerald, recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award, and family.

Left to Right: Tony Souza of WHALE, Keith Chenot, Preservation Worcester President, and David Leach, Preservation Worcester Executive Director, recipients of the Charles W. Eliot II Award.

Summer 2002, Preservation and People



O N :

The African American Heritage Trail of Martha’s Vineyard and The Captain William Martin House
by Elaine Cawley Weintraub The African American Heritage Trail of Martha’s Vineyard (AAHTMV) consists of sixteen sites dedicated to the memory of individuals of Af r i c a n descent whose lives are significant to the history of the island, including a woman from Africa enslaved on the island during the revolutionary period and her great-grandson, Martha’s Vi n e y a r d s ’ only African American whaling captain. The African American Heritage Trail History Project (AAHTHP) is a nonprofit corporation whose mission is to research, disseminate and educate the community of Martha’s Vineyard about the African American history of the island. In addition to providing escorted tours of the Heritage Trail, the lives of several African American people, whose stories had disappeared into obscurity prior to the late twentieth cent u r y, have been researched and published as a brief history, The African-American Heritage of Martha’s Vineyard (Weintraub & Ta n k a r d ) , which is available through the AAHTHP More recently, the AAHTHP . dedicated two sites, one in Menemsha and one in Aquinnah, which tell the story of the rescue of a fugitive slave during the years of the second Fugitive Slave Act. The AAHTHP also recently celebrated the achievements of African American women who operated small lodging houses in Oak Bluffs, thus enabling people of color to stay on the island.

The Captain William Martin House
On the island of Chappaquiddick, which is part of Edgartown, is the house where Martha’s Vineyard’s only African American whaling captain, William A. Martin (b. 1830/d. 1907), resided during his adult life. The great-grandson and grandson of
Captain William Martin House, Chappaquiddick Photo courtesy of the African American Heritage Trail of Martha’s Vineyard

enslaved African women, Martin rose to eminence in the seafaring community of Edgartown and captained several whaling boats, directing crews that were predominantly Caucasian, during the latter years of the whaling industry. Martin’s house is located on what was once the Indian plantation, and it was also the residence of his wife, Sarah Brown, and her family, who were of Native American descent. The AAHTMV now has the opportunity to buy the former home of Captain William Martin and restore it. Once restored, the History Project plans to use the house as a research and cultural center where it can conduct academic symposia and display cultural artifacts. The Captain Martin house, believed to be built in the early 1800s, is 4 Preservation and People, Summer 2002

an architectural and historical treasure, although it is currently in disrepair. It is not only a unique example of a relatively unaltered New England maritime-related structure, but it is also the last surviving physical link to the life of Captain Martin. If this building can not be preserved, an irreplaceable part of the Vineyard’s history will be lost forever. Elaine Cawley Weintraub is a historian and a history teacher at Mart h a ’ s Vineyard Regional High School, and a founder of the African American Heritage Trail of Martha’s Vineyard. For more information about the Heritage Trail or the Captain William Mart i n House, please contact the African American Heritage Trail of Martha’s Vineyard, PO Box 1513, Oak Bluffs, MA 02557, (508) 693-4361.

Ten Most Endangered Historic Resources Update:

Pinebank Still in Peril
By Edward Stanley Members of the Council, composed of representatives from several Jamaica Plain neighborhood organizations, took the stance that Pinebank is a “blight” on Jamaica Park and that a decision had to be made in a timely manner to alleviate this presumed situation. A number of advocates for Pinebank do exist, however, and any serious thought on its disposition will involve them. City Councilwoman Maura Hennigan, representing the Sixth District in Jamaica Plain, is solidly for the mansion’s reuse and has earmarked $700,000 of city funds toward stabilizing and “mothballing” the building. Albert Rex, Executive Director of the B PA, has stated that his group, with assistance from the Boston Landmarks Commission, will focus energy on this issue in the coming months in an effort to reach a conclusion within a good timeframe. A local group, Friends of Pinebank, chaired by Hugh Mattison (tel. 617-232-6083, email: hmattison@aol.com), is championing the effort to rehabilitate the once grand estate and is currently investigating the reuse of comparable structures in parks across the nation. Active discussions are now being conducted with the Prospect Park Alliance, which has successfully reused a number of historic buildings in a landscape also designed by Olmsted in the late 1800’s. Edward Stanley is a recent graduate of the Boston University Preservation Studies Masters Degree Program and lives in Jamaica Plain.

Pinebank, Jamaica Park, Jamaica Plain

Photo: Edward Stanley

Pinebank, featured on HMI’s Ten Most Endangered list in 1996, is a High Victorian Gothic mansion sited on a promontory overlooking Jamaica Pond that is in even greater peril than it was six years ago.
Built in 1870 as the summer home of the Perkins family, Pinebank is noted for its lavish use of terra cotta and decorative molded brick. Acquired by the City of Boston in 1892 for the creation of Jamaica Park, landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted saw the estate as playing a role in his design plans. No other building survived the city’s amassing and development of land under Olmsted’s careful designs for the Emerald Necklace park system. In the early 20th century, Pinebank served as the first home of the Boston Children’s Museum and later was for many years the offices of the Boston Parks Department. Left vacant in 1975, the mansion was soon vandalized and heavily damaged by a series of fires. At present, Pinebank is a nearly empty masonry shell, its roof greatly deteriorated and handsome brick envelope beginning to crumble. The alarming neglect by the city runs counter to Boston’s updated Emerald Necklace

Master Plan which recommends Pinebank’s stabilization and preservation. The mansion is in both National Register and Boston Landmark Districts. In 1996, following Pinebank’s Endangered designation, a charette was organized by Boston Pr e s e r v a t i o n Alliance (BPA) in which a variety of reuses for the mansion were considered. A number of viable options were proposed, including non-profit offices and special events and public space, all emphasizing a 24-hour presence. Unfortunately, due to a lack of neighb o rhood support and consensus, the City of Boston backed down from moving forward with any plans for the deteriorating structure. Leaders of the Jamaica Plain community have continually voiced concerns with parking and vehicular traffic assumed to be associated with any reuse of Pinebank. At present, the Boston Parks and Recreation Department has no plans for the mansion aside from minimal public safety measures including boarding up several windows and fixing a perimeter fence. A recent alarming development was the unanimous decision in May by the Jamaica Pond Advisory Committee to support the practical demolition of Pinebank and the retention of a part of the structure as an “historic ruin.” Summer 2002, Preservation and People

Did you hear?!
Historic Massachusetts will be holding a 2002 Ten Most Endangered Announcement Fall Fundraiser Event in November! Exact date, time and location to be announced. For more information, please call HMI at 617-723-3383.


also a tendency during shingle application to over-nail. More than two nails per shingle can create the potential for shingles to crack. For these reasons, air nailing (and stapling with large crown staples) is not recommended.

space between the original roof sheathing and shingles thus allowing wet shingles to dry evenly. O The circulation of air beneath the shingle is forced by stack effect over an elevated ridge vent and drawn through a long horizontal crack space above the crown molding at the lower roof edge. O Additional details are required at the cornice, rakes and ridges. See sample details in drawing for more information. With this system, the roof ventilation works continuously and passively, producing a number of benefits for the roof and building as a whole: O Shingles dry continuously and uniformly from above and below. O Roof temperature is more consistent in that it is cooler in the summer, thus reducing the heat in attic spaces during summer months. O Moisture is controlled and removed during the winter heating season, thus adding to the thermal performance of insulation. O Conditions that can cause ice dams are controlled by removing exc e s s heat, thus keeping the roof surface at or near the exterior temperature.

O New shingles are nailed to the 1 x 3 battens, rather than the historic roof sheathing, with greater holding power. O Fragile historic roof sheathing is generally strengthened and conserved by the installation of 1 x 3 grid attached with screws. Roofs ventilated in this manner should have a life expectancy of 25 to 50 years, and potentially even longer, depending on the species and quality of shingles, careful appli cation techniques, weather conditions and periodic maintenance. Robert Adam is head of the Preservation Carpentry program at the North Bennet Street School (NBSS) in Boston.
A portion of this information has been financed with federal funds from the National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, through the Massachusetts Historical Commission, William Francis Galvin, Chair. However, the contents and opinions do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the Department of the Interior or the MHC. The U.S. Department of the Interior pro hibits the discrimination on the basis of race, color ,national origin, age, gender or handicap in its fed erally-assisted programs. To report discrimination or for information, write to Office of Equal Opportunity, Department of the Interior, 1849 C Street NW, Room 1324 Washington, D.C. 20240.

The Raised Roof Method for Retrofitting Historic Wood Shingled Roofs
The following is a wood shingling system that has been used successfully on a number of historic buildings in New England. The results are not complete as of this writing, however initial findings are promising. The roofs constructed using this system, some of which are almost 20 years old, are all in excellent condition. These specifications are applicable to most historic and modern roof systems with an adequate pitch to support shingled surfaces (minimum 6”). O The vented roof system uses a gridwork of 1 x 3 “nailers” applied to the solid roof sheathing. The first layer is applied vertically, spaced 16” to 24” on center and attached with galvanized screws. O 1 x 3 horizontal nailers are then screwed to the lower battens and spaced at the shingle exposure (usually 5” on-center.) This creates a raised deck that allows the backs of the shingles to be exposed to an air
Useful terminology and formulas: Bundle: A convenient packaging unit, easily handled by one worker. It contains a quantity that is a multiple of one square. Most wood shingles are packaged as 4 bundles per square. Longer and/or thicker shingles may be packaged as 5 bundles per square. Butt: The thick end of a shingle. Course: An application of individual shingles in horizontal rows that are spaced a uniform vertical distance apart. Coverage: The net area covered at a given exposure. Coverage can also mean the number of overlapping layers or thickness of shingles when applied to a surface. For example, most wood shingles have three layers or triple coverage. Exposure: The amount of surface left visible in overlapping courses when measured vertically from butt to butt.

Grades: Each species of shingle is graded for quality based on specific criteria such as nominal length, butt thickness, type of grain (cut), percentage of heartwood, and allowable defects. Manufacturers belong to trade associations that set standard grading rules and apply labels on their products that identify the grade. Some examples of grade names include: Clears, extras, #1, #2, Blue label, and Red label. Headlap: The length of shingle not exposed. Rated Exposure: The exposure expressed in inches that will yield 100 square feet of coverage. For example, 16-inch shingles applied in courses with a 5-inch exposure will cover 100 square feet. Shingle sizes: Random widths, usually not less than 4 inches, 12 to 36 inches long, butt 7/16 inch or thicker. Most common sizes: 16 inches at 5” exposure

Formulas: Find the area of the roof surface in square feet. One square of shingles will cover 100 square feet of roof when applied with a rated exposure of 5 inches. The same square will cover only 80 square feet when applied in courses with a 4 inch exposure. Exposure x 100 sq. ft = coverage Rated exposure Or 4 x 100 = 80 sq. ft. per square 5 Divide this into the total roof area to determine the amount of shingles needed.


FUNDAMENTALS: Preservation Tools You Can Use

FUNDAMENTALS: Preservation Tools You Can Use
Practical information and strategies from Historic Massachusetts for Preservationists

Replacing Wood Shingles on a Historic Building
BY ROBERT ADAM The wood shingle’s long history in North America
Prior to the late 19th century creation of the asphalt shingle, wood shingles were the predominant roof covering used for most 18th and 19th century buildings in the United States, particularly in rural areas. Historically, the only part of the lumber used for roofing, siding and other exterior applications was the heartwood. The heartwood of most species is usually more dense and less susceptible to disease and decay from fungus and insects. Most wood shingles produced before the mid-19th century were hand split (riven) from indigenous species. The lumber used to manufacture shingles was generally riven (split along the grain) from large diameter trees capable of yielding sections wide enough for shingles. Short sections of logs, crosscut to the length of the shingle, were split first in half through the center and in half again, creating quarter sections. From these quarter sections, individual shingles were split: first from one radial edge, then the other. The usual range of widths is from 3-8 inches. Quartered grain is an important quality of shingles and lumber. The annual rings of quartered stock are perpendicular to the face and produce a more stable surface. They are much more stable than “plane’ or “flat sawn” shingles sawed by machines that slice through the annual rings tangentially. The greater stability of riven quartered grains yields shingles that are thin yet strong, expand and contract less, and lay flat. These factors are important to guarantee a weather-proof roof. Local woods were chosen for availability, durability, uniformity of grain, and ease of splitting. Species of wood used varied from region to region and included both softwoods and hard-

woods. In the eastern regions of North America, some of the most commonly used species were Eastern white pine, White cedar, White oak and Cypress. During the production of shingles, most 18th and 19th century manufacturers shaved or planed shingles after splitting them in order to make them uniform and smooth. Uniformity in thickness is important for laying the individual shingles flat and in consistent courses, and a smooth surface aids in more rapid draining by decreasing the number of crevices that can collect dust and moisture and allow fungi to take root. This combination of thin, strong, stable and smooth shingles made a light weight roof covering that generally lasted a generation or more. Because wood shingle production and installation are labor intensive, they were sometimes given coatings of pine

tar or linseed oil based paint to enhance their durability and increase their life. From about the mid-18th century through the 19th century, painting roof shingles was a common practice. Red roofs were popular because iron oxide pigment was one of the cheapest available. The pigment was ground in linseed oil and mixed with turpentine. The roof paint was applied by brush to the newly completed roof and reapplied periodically as part of routine maintenance.

The Modern Wood Shingle
Unfortunately, many of the materials and methods used historically to produce wood shingles are no longer available or practical to produce today. However, there are reasonable substitutes available and they are generally recommended as appropriate replacements for historic buildings.


Several species of soft woods are generally considered for modern replacement wood shingles:
Eastern white cedar is indigenous to the Northeast and has been a popular choice for both roofs and side walls for many years. Many coastal communities install white cedar shingle siding since it weathers to a uniform silver gray color and requires little maintenance. Eastern white cedar shingles are usually “flat sawn” and tend to be less stable than

Therefore, this premium grade of shingle does well to replicate the physical characteristics of historic hand riven shingles and are considered appropriate replacements. Alaskan yellow cedar, a “first cousin” to Eastern White Cedar, is and old growth western species and is now being marketed in the Northeast. Highly disease resistant, it is available in high quality edge grains similar to the Western red cedar, but weathers to a silver gray color.

Methods for installing wood shingles on a historic building: Modern vs. Historic
Beyond selecting the appropriate replacement shingle, there is the larger issue of appropriate methods of shingle installation. A number of shingle installation practices developed during the 20th century have been accepted by builders and code officials alike as standard procedure. Each practice becomes popular when first introduced and it often takes ten years or more to recognize its shortcomings. Some of these modern building practices may severely compromise the performance and reduce the life of a shingle.

Modern wood shingle installation methods that do not perform well are generally due to one or more of the following: Sheet material substrates and water barriers
For many years the standard wood shingle installation practice has been to paper all roof surfaces with 15-30 lb. asphalt impregnated felt paper before shingling. This standard was actually developed for asphalt shingles, but has also been accepted for wood shingle roofs. In some regions it has even been incorporated into the building code. U n f o r t u n a t e l y, while papering adds edge grain or quartered cuts, often cupping and shrinking excessively. They also can contain sapwood that is difficult to detect since its color is very close to the cream color of the heartwood. Although this shingle is weather resistant, by and large it is not considered the best roofing choice available today. Western red cedar is another widely available wood used for shingles. Although it is not indigenous to the Northeast, this West Coast species replicates historic riven shingles in many ways. Its heartwood is highly resistant to disease and is available in grades that are all clear, 100 % heartwood and edge grain cut. Most Western red cedar shingles are sawn, rather than hand split and shaved. For this reason they have more texture and have visible circular saw marks. However, the texture and saw marks are apparent only when viewed up close and become invisible from a distance.

Quick tips for selecting replacement wood shingles for use on a historic building: O Rough textured, “hand split” shingles marketed today as rustic are rarely appropriate for use on historic structures. O Some grades of modern shingles include sapwood, which is more vulnerable to disease and decay than heartwood. Be sure to check the specifications for all heartwood grades. O High quality shingles should be cut from edge grain stock for greater stability and should have clear, straight grain without defects such as knots.


FUNDAMENTALS: Preservation Tools You Can Use

Types of nails and proper application techniques are important to installing shingles successfully. Corrosion resistant galvanized nails are the standard today, but stainless steel is often specified, especially for Western Red Cedar. Nail type and size are important and usually hot dipped galvanized box or shingle nails that are long enough to fully penetrate the substrate are selected. Hand nailing is preferred since there is greater control through thin and soft shingles. Only two nails should be applied per shingle. Each nail should be located near each edge and a uniform distance above the exposure line. More than two nails can crack the shingle. A common cause of shingle failure is improper nailing with pneumatic guns. Air nailing is a popular nailing technique and is considered an industry standard that enables contractors to competitively price work. It is important to note that air nailing is often an effective technique that causes minimal damage to historic fabric in certain circumstances. However, it should generally be avoided for roof shingles. If air pressure is poorly controlled, nails can either be driven too far through the thin wood or not driven deep enough. In either case, the shingle would be improperly secured. There is

Drawings: Courtesy of Robert Adam

extra protection to the roof, this practice does not allow shingles to completely dry after a soaking rain, and therefore can contribute to early failure due to fungal decay caused by excessive moisture levels. The use of plywood or chip boards as a decking substrate also produces similar effects because the water proof glue used to bond the manufactured board forms a vapor barrier. While these substrates provide uniform nailing surfaces and dimensional stability, they too can contribute to the early failure of a wood shingle due to trapped moisture and subsequent decay.

Notwithstanding manufacturers’ recommendations, most preservation carpenters agree that little or no space should be intentionally left between shingles. Small spaces that result from gently bumping one shingle next to the other are more than adequate, should expansion occur. Despite this caution, substantially wide cracks can still develop after several seasons, particularly on southern exposures, if the shingles are applied with a high moisture content.

Quick tips for applying wood shingles: O Use well ventilated substrates to minimize moisture retention. O Place the shingles so there is minimal spacing between them. O Secure the shingles using proper hand nailing techniques with corrosion resistant fasteners. Galvanized box or shingle nails from 3d to 5d lengths (11/4 - 13/4 inch) are common. O Use two nails per shingle placed 3/4 of an inch from each edge and no more than 11/2 inches above the exposure. O Use shingles no wider than 8 inches to limit spaces between shingles due to shrinkage.

Modern Shingle Fastening Techniques SHINGLE SPACING
Another common practice that may also contribute to early failure of shingles is the manufacturer-recommended method of leaving space between adjacent shingles to allow them to expand. For years the rule of thumb for spacing has been to leave a “hatchet blade’s width” or 3/16 of an inch between each shingle. The rationale behind this is that dry shingles will swell and expand when wet and thus need additional space to move without buckling. In actual practice, shingle buckling rarely, if ever, happens. What usually happens is that shingles continue to shrink, regardless of their original moisture content, which results in cracks at the joints of ? of an inch or more. If the joints of preceding courses are not spaced far enough apart a leak can develop.

FUNDAMENTALS: Preservation Tools You Can Use


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