Phase one of the project to restore the original 18th-century roof framing of the Jean Hasbrouck House (ca. 1721) in New Paltz, at Historic Huguenot Street (HHS) has begun.
The Jean Hasbrouck House is a specific and rare example of traditional Dutch 18th-century architecture. The house’s high-pitched gable roof spans twice the depth of other stone houses from the period and is one of a kind in the United States.
The house was named a National Historic Landmark in 1967 and serves as the flagship house of seven historic house museums comprising Historic Huguenot Street’s 10-acre National Historic Landmark District (awarded 1960).
The project in the first two weeks of June focuses on the repair of damaged rafter feet on both the west and east slopes of the house as well as frame connections on the interior in the 18th-century timber-roof frame.
In spring 2017, Ken Follett of PreCon Logstrat, LLC (project manager) and Derek Trelstad of Silman Associates (structural engineers) recommended bringing in timber-frame experts Rudy and Laura Christian of Christian and Son, Inc., and Ian Stewart of New Netherland Timber Framing and their team to ensure a historically appropriate and structurally sound solution to issues in the 300-year-old roof framing. The need for this expertise was based on a 2D and 3D structural analysis provided by Silman Associates.
The timber framers made a site visit in July 2017 and spent a week removing the lower two feet of sheathing to closely examine the rafter feet. This examination revealed rot where the feet of roughly half of the rafters meet the top plates on the west slope of the roof. Similar deterioration was noted on rafters on the east slope and, in particular, problems at the distinctive entry shed roof. As it stands, before replacement of wooden shingles can occur, the project requires repair and replacement of damaged portions of the rafters. It has been determined that the wooden shingles have been replaced on a 30-year cycle, but that the problems with the timber frame itself have not been addressed since the original construction.
The project team at this time looks at the structure in mind to preserve it for the next 300 years. Materials will be replaced in a historically appropriate fashion. The final phase of the project will be to replace wooden shingles with shaved shakes deemed suitable for the historic interpretation of the house in 1721. HHS has raised more than $215,000 of the total project cost from individuals and foundations, along with contributions of historically appropriate materials from the traditional timber frame community, but must still raise an additional $120,000 to complete all phases of restoration.
For more information, visit Historic Huguenot Street’s website.
Photo of Timber frame assessment at the Jean Hasbrouck House in July 2017, by Ken Follett.