Track 4: This New World: Preservation technology and emerging issues within our historic buildings and built landscapes

General Abstract

4 - Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial: Lessons Learned from a Decade of Restoration

Tuesday, September 25
10:30 AM - 12:00 PM
Location: BNCC-106BC

The Perry Memorial is a 350-foot-tall Doric column constructed in 1913–1915 and located on an island in Lake Erie. It memorializes both the War of 1812 Battle of Lake Erie and the subsequent enduring peace between the United States and Canada. Constructed of granite masonry against which structural concrete was poured, over the decades the memorial has suffered from ill-conceived maintenance and misapplication of new technology, exacerbated by the logistics of working on a relatively inaccessible island location. Over the past decade, WJE has completed a series of projects on behalf of the National Park Service to restore the memorial.

The first project addressed the structural deterioration of the top observation deck. Waterproofing installed in a prior project was unsuccessful, and water infiltration into the cantilevered concrete and granite structure had resulted in severe freeze-thaw damage. The project included replacement of structural concrete, installation of new waterproofing, and repair of granite. An innovative suspended shoring assembly was constructed atop the memorial, allowing the work to proceed without the need for a shoring tower extending 300 feet from grade. Another key component of the project was the introduction of new davit sockets and cable ports, to allow for easy rigging of the memorial for access via suspended scaffolding, for the subsequent phases of work and ongoing inspection and maintenance.

The most recent project, completed in 2018, has involved removal of silicone sealant from all masonry joints and repointing with mortar. Elastomeric sealant was first used on the memorial in the 1960s, and new silicone was installed in all joints in the early 1980s. The intent behind the use of the “new technology” of this sealant was to make the masonry completely watertight. Achieving a perfect installation of sealant proved impossible, and small breaches allowed moisture to penetrate into the construction. Where water tried to exit through joints, the sealant debonded, and the system began to unravel. As part of the current project, the granite surfaces were carefully cleaned with a microabrasive system to remove a heavy build-up of efflorescence. By replacing the impermeable elastomeric sealant with traditional pointing mortar, the ability of the memorial to manage moisture migration should be re-established, avoiding the concentrated water infiltration and exfiltration that previously resulted in heavy staining. A key component of the project was the use of third-party quality control inspection to ensure that the mortar was installed as specified and achieved a good bond to the substrate.

Across these projects, a key point of decision has been to determine when a new technology (such as microabrasive treatment) should be applied to the memorial, and when the use of new technology from years past (such as elastomeric sealant in granite joints) should be discontinued.

Learning Objectives:

Ken Itle

Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, Inc.

Kenneth Itle is an Associate Principal with Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, Inc., in Northbrook, Illinois. He specializes in architectural preservation, with special emphasis in masonry, roofing, plaster, windows, and plaza systems. He is a licensed architect with more than 15 years of experience working on condition surveys, preparation of repair drawings and specifications, and construction observation for historically significant buildings nationwide.


Send Email for Ken Itle

Dan Worth

Mr. Worth is Principal and Historical Architect with BVH Architecture with offices in Lincoln and Omaha, NE. Dan has 40 years of experience with an emphasis in historic preservation, rehabilitation, urban design, master planning, programming and project management. He has extensive experience with managing public facilitation and community engagement process. Over the last 35 years, Dan has completed dozens of master plans and designed / implemented large complex historically significant projects with civic and institutional clients including the National Park Service, Smithsonian Institution, State of Nebraska, University of Nebraska and the Nebraska State College System. Dan has been a leader locally, regionally and nationally in community and non-profit professional organizations promoting the best practices for planning and preserving our communities.


Send Email for Dan Worth


4 - Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial: Lessons Learned from a Decade of Restoration

Attendees who have favorited this

Please enter your access key

The asset you are trying to access is locked. Please enter your access key to unlock.

Send Email for Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial: Lessons Learned from a Decade of Restoration