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Thursday, May 16 • 9:00am - 9:30am
(Architecture) Hold My Beer: A Team-Based Approach for Addressing the Complexity of Conditions at Monument Hill State Historic Site, Texas's Oldest Brewery

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The Texas Parks & Wildlife Department manages Monument Hill and Kreische Brewery State Historic Site in La Grange, a small town in central Texas. In 1848, stonemason and German immigrant Heinrich Kreische purchased the site, which is perched on a dramatically steep limestone bluff and overlooks the Colorado River. Kreische constructed a house and smokehouse for his family beginning in 1849, and began constructing a brewery in the late 1860s that grew to become the third largest in the state. These buildings and the ruins of the brewery, along with overlooks, trails and natural and manmade landscape elements related to the brewery operations comprise the 40-acre site. Kreische's expertise as a stonemason is evident in traditional German construction techniques such as fachwerk, coursed rubble stone construction, wood shake roofs, and limewashed plasters. The complex is open to the public and faces structural, drainage, accessibility, and electrical issues, along with deterioration of architectural materials stemming from age, extreme and uncontrolled humidity, bulk water infiltration, and adverse natural site conditions that are exacerbated by a lack of maintenance funds. The site is listed in the National Register of Historic Places and is a Texas State Antiquities Landmark. To address the complex range of site conditions and material degradation at the site, a team of diverse professionals was created, and a holistic approach was established. Led by preservation architects, the team included conservators, historians, structural, civil, and electrical engineers, surveyors, mineralogists, microbiologists, wood specialists, stonemasons, a historic finishes expert, an accessibility specialist, a moisture analyst, cost estimators, and the Texas Parks and Wildlife team of architects, archeologists, and site personnel. The team began its work by researching and documenting the site's construction history and chronology. A conditions assessment identified deterioration of materials as well as site, structural and electrical issues. Next, a comprehensive yet budget conscious testing program was created to determine appropriate repair techniques and materials. Tests combined low-cost techniques that could be performed on site in this relatively remote area and analyzed hundreds of miles away, with high-tech evaluation and laboratory analysis. Tests included environmental monitoring with HOBO data loggers and a moisture meter, infrared thermography, structural monitoring and probing, laboratory testing with X-ray diffraction to identify stone, stucco, plaster, and mortar materials and composition, laboratory evaluation of absorption characteristics and agents of deterioration such as biofilms and salts, and finishes analysis with polarized light microscopy. Conservators and preservation architects then analyzed the trove of data to find common links and patterns in an effort to determine the best way to preserve the site. The testing and analysis revealed a site more complex than originally expected, with a host of challenging conditions, not the least of which is the natural environment itself. Future work is anticipated to include repairs and restoration of the Kreische House and Brewery site and improvements to site accessibility.

avatar for Sherry (Nicky) DeFreece Emery AIA

Sherry (Nicky) DeFreece Emery AIA

Senior Associate, McCoy Collaborative Preservation Architecture
Nicky DeFreece Emery, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, is an architect that also has 18 years of experience as an architectural historian and 15 years as an architectural conservator. Her career has focused on preservation of historic structures as well as new construction. She believes that communities... Read More →

avatar for Frances Gale

Frances Gale

Architectural Conservator, University of Texas
Frances Gale is an architectural conservator with a Master of Science in historic preservation from Columbia University and over thirty-year’s experience in preserving historic buildings and monuments. Fran was a Senior Lecturer and Conservation Scientist at the University of Texas... Read More →

Thursday May 16, 2019 9:00am - 9:30am EDT
Salon A1, Uncas Ballroom Sky Convention Center, Mohegan Sun
  Specialty Session, Architecture
  • Track Architecture
  • Ticketed Included in Main Registration
  • Authors in Publication Order Sherry (Nicky) DeFreece Emery, AIA and Frances Gale, FAIC, FAPT
  • Abstract ID 18877
  • Tags architecture,stone,plaster,testing