Have we got bricks...

From Norfolk Southern's employee commmincations and social media...

 

Norfolk Southern  has donated century-old bricks from the demolition of a former mechanical shop in the old New Bern rail yard to the New Bern Preservation Foundation. The bricks will be used in several preservation projects, including restoration of the Union Station train depot and the King Solomon Lodge #1. The lodge building, built in 1870, five years after the Civil War, is the first African American masonic lodge organized in North Carolina and the lodge structure itself is thought to be the oldest in North Carolina and possibly the South. “We have received a substantial number of bricks from the old railroad structure that we can repurpose here in New Bern,” said Tim Thompson, president of the Preservation Foundation. “It’s great that Norfolk Southern was able to work with us and help the New Bern community in this way.”

 

NS employees feel good about it as well.  “As a railroad, we don’t always have the time or the resources to make things like this happen, so when you get an opportunity to work with the community and really have a positive result, it’s all the more rewarding,” said Adam Motsinger, engineer for environmental operations.

 

Salvaging of the bricks almost didn’t happen. In mid-December, Motsinger was overseeing a project alongside NS’ East Carolina branch line in New Bern to demolish the old shop building, which had long been vacant and in disrepair. When Thompson saw crews taking down the building, he stopped to ask about the bricks – a valuable commodity in a city that dates back to 1710.  “If we can't save a structure and it is going to be demolished, we like to try to salvage whatever we can, so it all doesn’t end up in the landfill or permanently destroyed,” Thompson said. “People are frequently searching for these old bricks for repairs. It’s really hard to get new bricks that match the appearance and the patina and wear and tear of the old bricks.”

 

For budget purposes, NS needed to complete the demolition by year-end, and arrangements already had been made to truck the bricks to a local recycling business. In a flurry of texts and calls, however, NS – working with the North Carolina Railroad, the Preservation Foundation, and New Bern government officials – hammered out a plan over the course of a day to have the bricks delivered instead to a location behind the Union Station depot building under restoration by the Preservation Foundation.  Motsinger singled out John Edwards, general director passenger policy, in the NS strategic planning group for his efforts in making it happen. NS operates the EC line for the North Carolina Railroad, and Edwards is the primary NS planning liaison between the two railroads. Tim Bentley, regional vice president, state relations, from our government relations team, also got involved.  “So often we’re viewed as being divorced from the communities where we operate, and that’s simply not the case,” Edwards said. “We live there, we breathe there, we have employees there. Here we had an opportunity to work with a community we’re a part of and we were able to do so in a way that makes sense for us, for our partner North Carolina Railroad, and for the community we’re in. I think that’s important.”

John Blackwelder, a member of the Preservation Foundation's board, formerly worked in the brick and masonry products industry and provided a wealth of knowledge about the bricks coming from the demolished building.  "The bricks from the shop were probably made locally around the turn of the 20th century", Blackwelder said. "It appears to be a mix of handmade bricks and manufactured bricks."  

 

The Preservation Foundation may use some of the bricks to reconstruct a fireplace and chimney in the main waiting room of Union Station Depot, a former passenger rail depot from 1910 to the mid-1950s. Some of the bricks may also be used to restoration work on the King Solomon Lodge structure's foundation. As part of fund-raising efforts, the Preservation Foundation expects to sell some the bricks to residents who need them for repairing New Bern's numerous historic structures.  “There’s multiple facets that make this positive,” Motsinger said. “It’s good from the historical significance, it’s good from the community relations aspect, and it’s good from the environmental perspective. This is a true beneficial reuse of these bricks.”

Work Continuing on King Solomon's Lodge #1

Windows, Siding, and Foundation Repairs Are in Process

Work on the exterior of King Solomon's Lodge #1 is continuing at a brisk pace throughout the Covid-19 crisis. Restored windows are in their final phases. This week we're starting on the cinder block sheathing. 

Here you see finish carpenters Herb and Barry of Camden Woodworking pitching in to remove a corner block of the cladding that covers up the original brick of the foundation.  

The initial phase of the project stabilizes and restores the exterior. A new standing-seam tin roof is now installed, the cupola restored, and windows and siding are in process. This part of the project includes siding repair, reconstruction of window frames and sashes, and removal of the cinder block sheathing around the brick foundation. 

There's a slide show of the ongoing work on this project at the bottom of the King Solomon's Lodge #1 page on this site.

The restoration 0f this important nineteenth century building is a partnership project between leadership of King Solomon’s Lodge #1 and the New Bern Preservation Foundation. The work will restore the Lodge meeting place originally known as Drayton’s Hall. 

​A fire in 2005 caused extensive smoke and water damage to the structure.  The structure was not flooded during Hurricane Florence, but the storm certainly highlighted the urgent need to do external repairs to keep out wind and rain.

We're thrilled with the support our community has shown this project.
 
Every penny you send in marked KSL #1 goes directly to pay the professionals working to restore this historic structure.
We're employing craftsmen and saving an important community structure with your help. Thank you!

To make a donation, click the yellow button.

For more information, click the teal strip.

The New Bern Preservation Foundation,Inc.,  510-B Pollock Street, P.O. Box 207, New Bern, NC 28563

Phone (252)633-6448        General email: NBPFinfo@gmail.com       Copyright 2015-2020

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