Story Chapel Masonry Repairs Update

September 29, 2020

The second phase of masonry repairs to Story Chapel and the Administration Building is in full swing.  The scope of the project includes reconstruction of stone buttresses with sandstone imported from Locharbriggs quarry in Dumfries, Scotland; major repairs to the east wall of the chapel; miscellaneous stone replacement on the chapel and east side of the Administration Building; and 100% repointing of the mortar joints.

Preparations for the project started in May with protection of areas under construction and installation of stabilizing cables to eliminate outward stress on the walls when buttresses were dismantled.  (Photo of plastic wall at east end of chapel, photo of cable ties installed)

Exterior work began in earnest with dismantling of the buttresses on the south side of the building.

Interior prep work continued with removal of the stained glass window on the east wall for restoration at the studio of Serpentino Stained Glass.

Paint was removed from the interior brick work in the chancel.  The interior brick and mortar were fortunately in excellent condition.

Damage to the east wall due to water infiltration required removal of 1970s era repairs, including unreinforced and hollow cinder block and plaster finishes.

The first truckload of cut stone arrived from the fabricator in Vermont in July and reconstruction of the large buttresses on the south wall began.

Work began on the Admin Building in July, including removal of miscellaneous deteriorated stones, and disassembly of the chimney near the NE corner of the building.

Conditions were worse than expected and required full dismantling of the chimney and additional stone removal on the walls below.

The interior east wall of the chancel was reconstructed with reinforced and fully grouted CMUs. The wall will be faced with replacement limestone at the base and brick above to match the original.

Stone was replaced at the base of the large buttresses at the east end of the chapel.  To retain structural integrity the buttresses were supported by on beam while reconstruction takes place below.

Gutter replacement on the south side of the chapel is underway.

Related Articles: Story Chapel Exterior Masonry Repairs

About the Author: Gus Fraser

Vice President of Preservation & Facilities View all posts by Gus Fraser →

2 Comments

  1. Paul + Carol Bradford says:

    So well appreciated – all that work and all of that expense is being well done.

    We’ll be in there in time to come! I tell everyone that I’m moving to 02138 and
    have always wished to live in Cambridge, but we’ll have to die first!

  2. Virginia Brady says:

    Wow what a job, grateful you are doing it because Story Chapel is such an important structure at Mount Auburn!

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