Award of Excellence: Historic Category
Jefferson Davis Monument Restoration
Submitted by Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, Inc.
Commonwealth of Kentucky
Department of Parks
Fort Scott, Kansas
Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, Inc.
The Jefferson Davis Monument was built between 1917 and 1924 in Fairview, Kentucky. The monument is approximately 351 ft tall and was constructed as an unreinforced concrete obelisk with walls 7 ft, 8 in. thick at the base and 2 ft thick at the top. The monument walls were constructed with a base mix placed in two foot lifts with a formboard finish, covered with a one inch thick white cement face mix. Deterioration of the unreinforced concrete was caused by cyclic freezing and thawing of saturated concrete.
The rehabilitation project was prompted by the continuing deterioration of the exterior facade and the safety hazard posed by falling concrete. The goal of the rehabilitation project was to repair the exterior concrete and reduce the rate of future deterioration. The primary objective of the repairs was to use materials and techniques that would be sympathetic to the existing facade, match the original concrete, and perform well.
The repair work was performed in two phases that included use of different types of access due to budget and schedule requirements. The repair work in Phase 1, at the top of the monument, used swingstage scaffold supported by a steel bracket. The work in Phase 2, at the lower portion of the monument, used ground supported pipe scaffold with work platforms.
The project included developing sample repair materials and procedures to match the original appearance. At least fifty, one by one ft samples were prepared using different proportions of grey and white cement and aggregate components, various forming techniques, and different finishing techniques. One of the most difficult challenges involved creating inconsistencies in the formwork to reproduce the varied appearance of the original concrete. Concrete repair materials were placed using form and pour techniques, and were anchored to the original base mix concrete by embedded dowels.
During the sample and trial repair phases of the monument rehabilitation, procedures and materials were developed and adjusted to achieve a concrete repair that matched the adjacent original concrete. An important aspect of this project, as with any historic repair work, was the planned implementation of a review and approval process as part of the project.