The Samuel Noakes House, Part 10

The Samuel Noakes HouseJohn Chesson has graciously offered to share his story and images of his ongoing adaptive reuse project at the Samuel Noakes house, 101 West Cork Street/201 South Braddock Street with PHW. We will be releasing these stories through the PHW blog in the coming weeks, following the progress with virtual hardhat tours.

The previous entries may be found at the PHW blog at part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5, part 6, part 7, part 8, and part 9.

The Cork Street side yard had a limestone retaining wall that was beginning to buckle. Walls bow out over time when the area behind the wall does not allow for proper water drainage. The plan to tackle this was to rework this area and create a new path through the wall to the Cork Street apartment. Excavation for this phase of the project was a bit more involved than expected, because under the top layer of soil was a limestone shelf. The concrete patio slab was also removed at this point to rework the entrance to that side of the building.

Work continues inside, as well. The half bath area on the Cork Street side is framed in, and more demolition is underway in the basement. The work in the basement reveals some telltale signs the building is as old as reported by the local historians Quarles and Russell, including machine cut nails typical of the early 1800s. To read more about the study of nails and their importance in archeology and dating construction, you may read “Nasty Rods of Rust and Dirt” at Curtin Archeological Consulting, Inc.’s blog. A list of further references in the article will get you started on visually identifying the era from which a nail dates. Nails, along with saw marks in wood, are some of the best ways to estimate the age of a building of uncertain construction date.

Old nails uncovered in the beams in the basement.Work moves outside to tackle a failing limestone wall

The half bath area is framed out

More demolition is underway in the basement

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