Report:
Mausoleum Reconstruction and Renovation.
By
David Anthony Harbour

 

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Brief Summary of Damage to the Mausoleum:

 

Our mausoleum was constructed (finished) in 1922. Since then the elements have taken a slow and progressive toll on the structure. In addition to damage inside the building, inadequately drained water caused the serious external damage to the finely dressed marble casing stones on the north wall of the mausoleum. The north wall is exposed to the prevailing northwesterly direction of severe winter storms with their accompanying precipitation. Over the decades wind driven moisture between the bed joints of the marble cladding, and inadequately drained water from the roof which found its way behind the marble facing stones slowly and cumulatively caused the stones to buckle away from their underlying core masonry. The principle agent of this damaging action is thought to have been the cyclic freezing of trapped water behind the casing stones expanding and forcing them away from the underlying core masonry by increments over time.

I obtained this first photograph of the north side of the mausoleum only days before the contractor began removing the finely dressed marble casing stones. Even at this distance, one can note that under the early morning low angle illumination (grazing the north wall at a very shallow angle) that the north wall's casing stones were not all lying flush within the plane of the wall.

 

In this next photograph we are a little closer to the central northern fašade of the building to show some of the serious separation of casing stones from their underlying anchoring masonry. (Remember, you may enlarge any of these small photographs with a single left mouse click on the picture- then you may save the enlarged picture to your own hard drive with a right click on it to obtain a menu to select "save picture as").

 

Here we have selected a particularly severe example of the kind of ongoing and accumulating damage occurring to the north wall, and show it in a photograph that illustrates it well. This area is representative of several other areas on the north wall as to type and degree of damage. Some areas of damage were much larger, and not quite as severe, and some areas of damage were smaller, and more severe. The process of the separating of this fine casing masonry was distributed over nearly the entire north wall of the mausoleum. The ultimate disposition of this process would have been to cause major sections of the fine marble casing stones to separate and peel away from the north wall of the building.

 

Reconstruction: Beginnings:
Casing Stones Being Removed

 

 

In late spring a contract was signed with the Otis Ruth construction company, a local area contractor with good credentials and wide-ranging experience with special projects. Mr. Ruth and his work crew immediately began the task of taking down the casing stones on the north fašade of the building and cataloguing them for replacement.

 

By the middle of June most of the casing blocks had been removed and catalogued. Picture, far left, shows the building at a distance to convey the overall impression of how extensive the required repair would be. By early July the remaining blocks requiring removal had been removed and the crew was ready to begin reconstruction of the north fašade.

 

Here (far left) is a portrait of Mr. Ruth and his hard working crew. From left to right are: Derric Morris, Luke Draffin, Stan Saeger, and Mr. Otis Ruth. These gentleman put in eight hour days consecutively throughout the hot month of July, now continuing the work into August, skillfully replacing each block in its new bed joint with new metal ties secured to the underlying core masonry's head joints, which were specially prepared for these new anchor ties. In the next photograph are Mr. Henry Rahm, president of the board of directors, and Joy Robertson, board member. They visited late one evening to inspect progress, and as I was there, I pinned them to the spot with my camera long enough for this portrait. Our board of directors meets regularly to keep abreast of developments pertaining to upkeep and improvement of our fine cemetery.

 

Reconstruction:
Blocks Being Replaced

 

 

This next series of photographs show the rapid progress Mr. Ruth and his crew made in July and early August in replacing the finely cut and dressed marble casing stones. The stones are going back on with a very high degree of precision in their placement, as an inspection when the early morning light grazes the wall at a very low angle shows the casing stones to be very nearly exactly flush in the same plane. The photograph just here to the left shows Mr. Ruth and an employee inspecting and preparing metal ties across the top of a casing stone to be anchored in its new bed joint.

 

These next photographs show further progress as new courses of casing blocks are laid on top of previous courses. The last photograph here shows progress up to early mid-August. Mr. Ruth and his crew are achieving a very fine accuracy in the replacement of these fine marble casing blocks.

 

Our Most Pressing Need

We have an officer working full time on fund development to pay for the mausoleum reconstruction and renovation. Before we can approach the larger out of state grant makers, we will have to be able to demonstrate a solid base of local support for our project.

Our mausoleum would cost several millions of dollars were it to be built new today with the same high quality materials and with the same all masonry construction techniques. It is the central showpiece monument in our fine cemetery- it is appropriate for all community citizens to consider it and value it as a fine architectural treasure in our midst. From this perspective, it is very, very much worth saving. Enid can be known for what it dares to do that is fine and noble. Let us show that we value the treasure of our own community by rallying around our cemetery in its hour of need for financial support. Our contractor bid the job in at $85,000.00- pocket change in comparison to what a building built in this finely crafted fashion would cost today, and less than a fourth of the amount of the next and only other bid by another competent to do the job. Please call us to pledge your contribution that we may be able to show the larger grant makers when we apply to them that our community values its cultural, historical, and artistic treasures. Enid can and will be known for its greatness.

 

© 2001 David Anthony Harbour
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Enid Cemetery
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