HDC continues to work with lead firm Tetra Tech on the assessment of historic national cemetery lodges for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. In December 2021, Charissa Durst and Cathie Senter traveled to Brooklyn, New York, to visit the lodge at Cypress Hills National Cemetery. In 2022, Cathie traveled with Tetra Tech historic architect Leila Hamroun to the lodges at both Corinth National Cemetery in Mississippi and Glendale National Cemetery near Richmond, Virginia. A common theme during fieldwork is climbing in and out of windows!
At left is the exterior of the Cypress Hills National Cemetery Lodge. In the center is Charissa on the rear roof and at right is Cathie inspecting the porch roof.
At left is the Corinth National Cemetery Lodge , which is unusual for its gambrel roof. At right is the Glendale National Cemetery lodge, which features patterns in the mansard slate roof.
HDC started fieldwork on the Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church in August and submitted the final report before the end of the year, as required by the grant funding. HDC prepared the report to provide information on the historical background, architectural evolution, existing conditions, and work recommendations in order to rehabilitate the building into a historic site and community center. The congregation was loosely established in 1799 and is believed to be the earliest Black church established west of the Alleghenies. Services were held in homes until it was officially organized as a Baptist church c.1810 and a small church with a bell tower was built.
The church was located on Macedonia Ridge overlooking the Ohio River near the southernmost point of Ohio. Active crossing points across the Ohio River for Black fugitives escaping what at that time was still Virginia, made the church a natural stop on the Underground Railroad. In 1834, the Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church became the “Mother Church” of six Black Baptist churches that formed the Providence Anti-Slavery Baptist Association, all of which carried out Underground Railroad work.
At left is the northeast corner and at right is the southwest corner.
Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church History
The congregation of Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church swelled with the October 1849 arrival of anywhere from 32-46 newly freed enslaved people, often referred to as the “Burlington 37.” The labor and funds of the Burlington 37 helped build a new church noted as being about 20 feet by 30 feet in size. In 1870, the church was physically moved about 200 yards to the south to its current location, away from the wet conditions of the original site.
Between 1860 and 1880 the Black population in Ohio more than doubled from around 37,000 to around 80,000. Between 1880 and 1882, the Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church congregation increased to 125 people, more than could fit in the 1849 church. In 1889, the church was substantially renovated and enlarged to its current size, with a new bell tower marking the entry. Early 20th century alterations include the addition of the metal ceiling and heating stoves. The 1950s saw the replacement of oil lamps with electrical chandeliers and new doors at the bell tower opening.
The congregation gradually dwindled to four people in 1984, and officially ceased shortly afterwards. The building is still used for meetings of descendants of the original congregation who still live in the area. The church hopes to implement the recommendations contained in the Historic Structure Report in the spring of 2023.
At left is a view of the interior looking west at the pulpit platform. At right is a view of the Interior looking east at the entry.
In 1998, the National Park Service commissioned HDC to prepare the first ever Historic American Engineering Record drawings of an aircraft—the KC-135 airborne command center located at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska. Offutt Air Force Base was established in 1891 as Fort Crook and came into use as Offutt Field in the 1930s. It was officially designated Offutt Air Force Base in 1948 and transferred to the newly established U.S. Air Force. Strategic Air Command (SAC) was then transferred from Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland to Offut, moving into a new building in 1957 that included an underground command center. In 1960. SAC began trial runs of an airborne command center that would guarantee retaliation if underground headquarters were destroyed in a nuclear attack. Named “Looking Glass” because it mirrored the functions of the underground command center, the mission began round-the-clock operations in 1961. One of the mission’s customized KC-135/EC-135 jet aircraft was in the air 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for the next 29 years. In addition to the aircraft, the historic district includes 14 buildings constructed between 1959 and 1976.
The team took photographs and measured every aspect of the plane, such as the rear wheels. They also had some fun…here is Don Durst attempting to take control of world affairs.
Here is an explanatory isometric drawing of the plane.
Ziti ran six 600-yard CAT courses over a 3-day weekend in Medina, but it became obvious that her heart just wasn’t in it since she had to do it all by herself. Ziti kept stopping and running back to us to get us to run with her. She completed all six runs and earned a CAA certification, but we probably won’t be signing her up for more in the future. Since there is usually a two-hour time lapse between her first and second runs, we take Ziti to a local park, where she gets to run around, sniff, and be a beagle. After the second run, we took her to the Cuyahoga Valley National Park and went off on other tangential trails that we typically miss when zipping along the tow path on bicycles.
Left: Ziti posing for her CAA certification. Right: Ziti amongst the sneezeweed on a trail near the CAT track.
Left: Ziti having fun walking the quarry walls on the Quarry Trail. Right: Ziti enjoys a log on the Hemlock Trail near Chippewa Creek Gorge.
HDC’s association with Metro CD Engineers on their GSA contract has finally moved into bidding and construction for multiple projects. The renovation of offices for Senator Sherrod Brown in the Bricker Building in Columbus and the Peck Building in Cincinnati are currently under construction now that the contractor has acquired the needed security clearances for his personnel. In Cleveland, projects to apply security film to the glass-walled lobbies at the Celebrezze Building and to renovate multiple areas of the Metzenbaum Courthouse are also under construction. Finally, at the Rice Federal Building in Dayton, the project to renovate the Secret Service suite on the 8th floor is now bidding and the project to place a new generator and provide an enclosure around the meters will be bidding soon.
Left: Exterior of the Metzenbaum Courthouse, a historic building constructed in 1910. Right: One of the two lobbies at the Celebrezze Building. Below: The Rice Federal Building and Courthouse opened in 1975 in Dayton.
Whether you call them historic structure reports, feasibility studies, condition assessments, or renovation master plans, they all include the same basic elements: assessment of existing conditions and deficiencies, phased work recommendations, and cost estimates. Back in 1992, we still went to the library to read the Commerce Business Daily in the reference section to find listings of federal projects for which we might be qualified. When we saw one from the Wayne National Forest titled “Architectural Evaluation of the Walter Ring House,” we borrowed a book on how to write a proposal and submitted for this project. Much to our surprise, we were selected! Project Manager Ann Cramer told us 30 years later that she was also surprised—at how young we looked! But it all worked out and for the next 15 years, HDC ended up inventorying and assessing all the buildings that the Wayne National Forest acquired when enlarging its land holdings.
Left: Walter Ring House. Right: One of HDC’s assessment notes.HDC also assessed a lot of buildings for Naval Facilities Engineering Command, usually when a historic building was placed on the demolition list and the Navy had to examine all possible other options. For these projects, HDC typically considered No Action, Demolition, Mothballing, Renovation for Stabilization and Renovation for Occupancy. The Navy called these “Case Alternative Reports,” although the last one we did the project manager wanted to call it an “Economic Analysis Report.”
Left: Building 25 at Naval Station Great Lakes, a former dormitory, taken from Building 28, an identical building across the street. Right: Building 76, the former Red Cross Building at Naval Station Great Lakes. Sadly, these buildings were ultimately demolished.
HDC has also prepared Historic Structure Reports as per the National Park Service Guidelines, including buildings owned by the National Park Service. Two very different examples include the Richmond Hamilton House in New River Gorge National River Park in West Virginia. The Park Service hoped to interpret the house as a 19th century homestead, but our research concluded that the original 19th century house had been replaced by an early 20th century structure on the same stone foundations. At the Charleston Navy Yard in Boston Historical National Park, HDC completed a Historic Structure Report for Building 150, the Chain Forge, which once made 3” diameter anchor chains for the Navy. This large building consisted of the “Power House” at the west end connected to the “Smithery,” which retained historic forge machinery.
Left: The Richmond-Hamilton House in West Virginia. Right: HAER photograph of the interior of the Chain Forge in Massachusetts.
Left: The Power House portion of the Chain Forge. Right: The Smithery section.
HDC is currently preparing a Historic Structure Report for the Avery-Downer House (aka Robbins Hunter Museum). The high-style Greek Revival house was completed in 1842 and occupied by the Avery, Spelman, and Downer families until 1902, during which time an addition was constructed in 1875. The Phi Gamma Delta fraternity purchased the house in 1902 and sold it to the Kappa Sigma fraternity in 1928. Kappa Sigma created a large meeting room with exterior porch in 1930. In 1956, when nearby Dennison University began allowing fraternities on campus, the fraternity sold the house to Robbins Hunter, Jr.
Left: Southeast corner of the Avery-Downer House. The porch in the rear was added in 1930 by the Kappa Sigma fraternity. Right: The Victoria Woodhull memorial over the side entry to the rear of the original 1842 house. The wing to the right was moved here by Robbins Hunter and is currently leased to a retail store.
Hunter purchased the house with the intent of preserving it as a museum, and for the next 23 years furnished it with antiques worthy of its interior. He constructed a rear kitchen addition in 1965, and in 1973, built a fanciful octagonal room where he kept a desk and enjoyed playing the organ. After visiting a memorial to Victoria Woodhull in England (she was the first woman to run for president in 1872), Hunter learned that she was from Licking County and was determined to create the first memorial for her in the United States. He commissioned a clock tower bearing her likeness and donated it to the Village of Granville as a bicentennial gift. The house opened as a museum in 1981 under provisions of his will.
Left: The main stair to the second floor. Right: the exterior door of the octagonal room constructed in 1973.
Ohio Business magazine recently published its inaugural Ohio 500 list of most powerful and influential people in Ohio, and HDC’s Charissa Durst is featured on the list for being one of the many women and men who work to make our state great! Read about the full list HERE.