Sabine Hill restoration on schedule despite weather delays

Published 4:26 pm Friday, March 27, 2015

Work on the historic Sabine Hill house is progressing as planned and is expected to be finished in time for a grand opening later this year.

Workers from Miller Construction have been busy for the past several months restoring the house built by Brig. Gen. Nathaniel Taylor and his wife, Mary, after the War of 1812.

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Even with the snowy weather that plagued the area in February, the construction is on track to finish when expected, Sycamore Shoals State Historic Park Manager Jennifer Bauer said.

“We had a bit of an extension because of the weather, but everything is still pretty much where it needs to be,” Bauer said. “The interior and exterior construction, the geothermal heating system and the security are all expected to be completed by June. All of the finishing work with the furnishings, landscaping and things like that will be done after that. We are hopeful we can have a grand opening in late summer or early fall.”

Crews are working extensively on the interior of the home, Bauer said. All of the walls are either receiving plaster work or new board planking, depending on what was originally in place.

“Some of the walls had plaster and are getting repairs,” Bauer said. “Others were covered with boards instead. If that was the case, they are being returned to what they originally were.”

New windows made with restoration glass were installed. The restoration glass is made to replicate the glass style that would have originally been in the home, Bauer said. The windows also have new frames and sills.

“The restoration glass has the bubbly, wavy look the way glass in the 1800s would have been,” she said.

Crews are working to finish up all the remaining woodwork inside the home, including trim work, chair rails and baseboards.

On the outside of the home, the two chimneys are finished and the finishing touches are being applied.

The western facing chimney had to be rebuilt because at some point in its life it was painted with a waterproofing substance that damaged the bricks. Fortunately, some of the bricks were in good enough condition to be used in the reconstructed chimney. Also, the fireboxes from the western chimney was able to be saved.

The eastern chimney survived the test of time the best. The only portion of that chimney that needed to be reworked was areas that were damaged during a chimney fire.

In the other outside areas, utilities such as electricity and water have been installed and the parking area is close to being complete.

“The parking area is going to look really nice,” Bauer said. “They used pavers to give it a cobblestone look.”

The walkway from the home to the parking lot is being finished and then crews will work on building the steps to the home.

Once all the major construction items are finished, historic experts will be brought in to select the proper furnishings, wall coverings and window coverings for the home.

“Everything is going very well,” Bauer said. “We look forward to when everything is complete.”