Percy Lee Dairy Farm Foundation Inc., Jericho and Jerusalem Roads, Jerusalem Mill, MD Gunpowder Falls State Park 2009 to 2015
Introduction/Background: When built prior to 1810 by mill owner David Lee, the bank barn was the largest in Harford County and was in use until an arson fire in 1966. The Friends of Jerusalem Mill provided matching funds for a grant from Preservation Maryland and the Maryland Historical Trust to commission an extensive “Reconstruction Assessment Report” of the bank barn and adjacent pumphouse completed December 31, 2009, by Jeffrey A. Lees, AIA. The most significant visual depiction of the bank barn and adjacent pumphouse is a watercolor probably drawn by a member of the Cadwalader family c. 1930 (see attached picture below on left in comparison to recent pictures of reconstruction).
The intrusion of vines, trees and other vegetation have compromised the foundations and displaced mortar; fire damage, weathering and time have removed or deteriorated the mortar and resulted in loss of stones throughout the structure, and, the oak timbers that surround the three (two original and one added later) doors and six windows on the ground floor are in a compromised state with most missing the key bottom sill plates. Good original construction and the interlocking nature of the stones/mortar are currently maintaining the structural integrity of the bank barn; however, any adverse winds, tremors or shocks might initiate a catastrophic event. While the bankbarn has stood for 200 years, it is imperative that funds be obtained and works begun to save this iconic structure in order to reincorporate it into the operational and interpretive activities of the historic Jerusalem Mill Village to benefit present and future generations.
Intermittent efforts were made to work on the barn over the years leading to the founding on October 17, 2012 of the Percy Lee Dairy Farm Foundation, Inc. to continue these efforts to stabilize, preserve and ultimately restore the circa 1803 Bank Barn as well as the circa 1830 Tenant Farmer’s/Post Office House and associated farm buildings.
Overarching Restoration Plan of Action: The all-volunteer 501 (c)(3) foundation has divided their energy into several activities (1) Stabilize the existing bank barn structure to facilitate future restoration; (2) Rebuild the adjacent pumphouse; (3) Rebuild the adjacent pony shed; (4) Complete restoration of the tenant farmer’s/post office house, and, (5) Re-establish a farm environment on the adjacent land.
The foundation has solicited contributions from new corporations, neighbors and family members that were associated with the history of Jerusalem Mills. All contributions are collected on a non-interference basis with either the Friends of Jerusalem Mill Inc. or Gunpowder United Mountain Bike Operators, Inc., both nonprofits that support the operation and maintenance of the historical village. The goal of the foundation is to be the “bricks and mortar” support to both the “living history” Friends and the “trail maintainers” Bike operators.
The foundation has teamed with local churches (Mountain Christian Church, St Stephens, Trinity Lutheran of Joppa, etc.); Gunpowder Falls State Park volunteers, Conservation Job Corps, Maryland Conservation Corps, and other individuals to address these requirements. Without these hundreds of volunteers and thousands of dollars of donations, the work to re-establish the Percy Lee Dairy Farm would be impossible.
Accomplishments/Progress/Status: Thanks to sponsors who have contributed thousands of dollars, material and equipment; and our hundreds of volunteers contributing thousands of hours of labor, the Percy Lee Dairy Farm Foundation Inc., has: (1) Made significant progress on stabilizing the bankbarn stone walls; (2) Completed the reconstruction of the pumphouse now used for material storage; (3) Begun reconstruction of the pony shed; (4) Rescued the tenant house/post office from certain destruction, and, (5) Begun re-establishing a farm environment with bee hives and equipment. Much more is left to be done ASAP.
1. Stabilize the Bankbarn: During the winter of 2009 and continuing through 2014, the focus of the activity at the bankbarn site was to stabilize the existing structure and initiate emergency repairs by (1) Removing the invasive vegetation; (2) Replacement of lintels/base plates, and, (3) Re-pointing the exterior walls; replacing missing stones; re-pointing the inside walls; filling in non-original South-West door, and, covering top edge of the remaining wall.
a. Vegetation growth: Starting with a bank-barn work day in winter 2009 and continuing with a follow-up workday by the Long and Foster Realtors volunteers, most of the excess growth has been killed. Additional effort this summer removed remaining vegetation and accumulated soil from the floor and preserved some surface artifacts (see attached pictures below). This work has to be repeated frequently to keep the vegetation under control.
b. Replacement Lintels/Base plates: The lintels are a key structural element of the bank barn. All six windows and two original doors have been stabilized using donated pressure treated vertical six by six timbers resting on temporary base plates leveled with modern mortar. The new support system is secured to the original lintel using eight inch Timberloc screws. The attached pictures on left below demonstrate the technique as employed on the northeast corner door.
A sturdy poured concrete threshold was uncovered and used as a base for the new supports. The original jambs fell away as the lintel was raised to its original height, but, were saved for possible reuse. The current lintel seems about two inches narrower than the original implying that this is not the original door frame. The interior lintel has experienced deterioration. An artifact light switch was saved and given to the curator for his collection. An example of the new support system for the windows is shown on the attached pictures above on the right. This window is in the north wall of the building. Note from the “after” pictures, the ½ inch gap between the lintel and the existing stones was significantly reduced.
c. Re-pointing (rake out deteriorated mortar and replace with modern mortar leaving space for a surface application of period lime/sand mortar at a later date); replace missing stones and fill-in non-original SouthWest door (using stones on site, using modern mortar, fill voids using clean stones found on-site, leaving space for top pointing a final application of modern lime mortar). See attached picture below. Re-pointing was begun in 2013 by a professional mason. A partial set of donated scaffolding has been repaired and is being used to maintain a safe work environment. There are insufficient funds to procure materials and tools to complete this effort in 2014. As soon as possible, we will place a cover over the top-edge of existing walls (using copper or similar material to protect the top leading edge of the walls to facilitate preservation).
In Oct 2013, volunteers tackled the earthen ramp in from the bankbarn. The intent is to expose the outside foundation for future repair/re-pointing (see attached pictures below on left to center).
In 2014, the masonry progress on the bankbarn was accelerated with more work days and several volunteer training sessions with our professional mason. The mason was able to completely re-build the short wall in front as well as start the processes to re-build the roof-line (see attached pictures below).
Starting in 2013, timber and stone from the Axial Belko Plant (former Franklinville Cotton Factory) was obtained from the owners. The timbers included chestnut, yellow pine and oak and the stones are granite, faced on two sides. All the material is from the former boiler factory (see attached pictures below).
In 2015, with the benefit of a number of sizable donations, the PLDFF had a remarkable year to complete the south wall and re-start work on the south wall. Starting on 8 Jul to 28 Aug 2015, the Percy Lee Dairy Farm Foundation used Old World Stone Masonry, INC to complete the emergency repairs to the north walls of the Jericho Bank-Barn. The process was slow at first. The masons worked from both corners to the middle, then had to remove 10 to 15 feet of the top of the wall because it was rolling inwards. This portion had to be completely rebuilt. New granite lintels were added above the top window and the charred oak timber that partially survived the fire was save the future display in the completed bankbarn. Hours of hours of additional weekend volunteer hours were used to clear the internal floor of the excess mortar and re-stack the remaining stones for future use on the South wall. Also, volunteers sorted and picked up over thirty tones of additional three-sided granite foundation stones from the former Franklinville Cotton Factory on Jericho Road and stored them for future work. The end result was worth the effort. A visitor remarked that “it was great that you had all the stones to re-build the wall”. This was far from the truth, but, it confirmed that David Lee was wealthy enough at the time of the construction of this barn to purchase “quarry” stone in addition to the river and f ield stone, because the quarry stone from the Franklinville Cotton Factory matched the original stones perfectly.
During volunteer workdays in Apr, May, Jun and Jul, volunteers installed a worm-fence in front of the Pumphouse and North wall to separate it from the construction site and protect visitors.
Starting on 28 Aug until 16 Dec 2015, volunteers dismantled a fifteen by thirty foot wooden building that belonged to Rich and Joan Beam, 801 Ontario Street, Harve De Grace, MD 21078. They donated an assortment of material from your Great-Grandfather Lou Klair’s General Store to the Friends of Jerusalem Mill and the PLDFF. The donations include: (1) A variety of period store goods (irons, kitchen items, heat lamp) will be registered/labeled and put on display in the Historical Jerusalem Mill “McCourtney’s” General Store; (2) Two Webster Creamy Milk Containers will be restored and put on display in the Springhouse; (3) 1880’s Iron Forge will be restored and put on display in the Blacksmith Shop (4) $140.00 of Scrap Metal, and, (5) over five tons of 1900’s antique timbers (see picture attached below on left) will be used in the restoration of the Percy Lee Dairy Farm Foundation bankbarn on Jericho Road.
Starting in Dec 2015, Old World Stone Masonry returned to start the emergency repairs to the South wall, repeating the same techniques that were used in the North Wall. Our hope is to finish the South wall this next year. Also starting in Dec 2015, dozens of volunteers started to clear the brush and dead trees from the front of the bankbarn to give visitors a clear vision of the bankbarn from Jericho Road, consistent with the period of operation. Additional volunteer workdays will be used to complete this effort and install a “worm-fence” along Jericho Road.
2. Pumphouse: A proposal to reconstruct the adjacent pumphouse was prepared as a project for the Maryland Civic Justice Corps (CJC) in the summer of 2010. The foundation was stabilized with the help of the Gunpowder Falls State Park, Friends of Jerusalem Mill, and several volunteers using limited funds and donated material to demonstrate the feasibility of the updated proposal (see attached pictures below from March 2010 and September 2010).
In 2013, John Olson, Eagle Scout Candidate, along his fellow scouts and family continued the re-construction of the former pump house alongside the 1803 bank barn ruins (see attached pictures below on left). The scouts erected the walls, added board and batten siding, roof boards and installed standing seam metal roof. Due to the high cost of this project, the Percy Lee Dairy Farm Foundation helped purchased the roofing materials, hardware for the door/windows and paint. John obtained the rank of Eagle Scout and his project was selected as the best Eagle Scout Service Project in the Baltimore Region for 2013.
3. Pony Shed: The original pony shed on the site collapsed some years ago and the site was cleared for the building of a replacement. In Jun 2013, Long and Foster volunteers initiated the re-construction of the pony shed with the pouring of six concrete cylinder footings. On Wednesday, 2 Jul 2014, twenty-one volunteers from Long and Foster returned to “raise” the timbers and the roof trusses to re-establish the pony shed. The volunteer work day commenced at 8:30 AM with coffee, snacks, official sign-in, safety briefing and work day orientation at the site of the Jericho bank barn. Sunshine Grill provided lunch at 12:30 PM. The Percy Lee Dairy Farm Foundation obtained antique timbers from the former 1840 boiler building on the grounds of the Axial Belko Factory (former Franklinville Cotton Factory).
4. Tenant Farmer’s House: In Jun 2010, well lid cap was cracked and open to contamination and a new one was required. A custom form for the well cap was constructed, rebar was added and the new cap poured. This cap had lifting handles that were used to place the completed cap on top of the well (see attached pictures below).
On Friday, 17 Dec 2010, at approximately 3:00 PM, an out-of-control car significantly damaged the stone foundation of the tenant house. Harry Sanders was notified by his daughter, who in turn notified Chris Scovill, Joan Scovill, Julie Van Campen, Rich Moure and Rick Decker Over the next few days, we (1) added a support beam in the basement to stabilize the house framing and take the load off the damaged stone foundation; (2) weather-proofed the basement outside and the (broken) cellar windows with 6 mil plastic; (3) immediately added 30 gallons diesel fuel to the otherwise empty fuel tank; (4) filled the oil tank using the FOJM account; (5) secured and weather-proofed the windows; (6) Provided fuel oil bill and received payment from GFSP, and, (7) Rich Moure started contacting masonry contractors to obtain costs of repair for GFSP to be financed by the driver’s car insurance. The car damaged four feet of the foundation from the Northwest corner along Jerusalem Mill Road and six feet of the foundation along Jericho Road, including the cellar window (see picture of damage, from left to right, outside and inside). You can see daylight from the inside of the basement and at least half of the stones along the combined ten linear feet of foundation dislodged inside the basement of the house, however, there was no evidence of collapse or movement of the house framing (due to the pre-existing floor jacks in the basement).
On Saturday, 18 Dec 2010, we cleared all the debris from inside the basement of the house; constructed a double beam using two donated 2 by 6 inch pressure treated timbers, then, used two donated floor jacks on top of a donated 2 by 10 inch pressure treated timber to stabilize the house framing and take the load off the damaged stone foundation. We also added donated 6 mil plastic to all three cellar windows, fiberglass insulation to the inside of the cellar windows, and, covered the outside from the front porch to the chimney with the plastic (see above on right). Also we secured all the windows, replaced the missing panes of glass with clear packing tape and weather-proofed the worst windows. The fuel oil tank was bouncing on empty so we added all the GSFP provided diesel fuel we had (30 gallons). After this was complete, the tank was now 1/8th full and the boiler was operating, the water pressure is holding and the inside temperature is holding steady at 52 degrees.
On Monday, 21 Dec 2011, Rich Moure contacted several masonry contractors. Four contractors have inspected the building. Subsequently three bid estimates were received and provided to GFSP. GFSP intends to receive these funds from the insurance company of the driver of the car.
On Wednesday to Saturday, 23 to 25 Dec 2010, during the extreme cold and high winds, the outside plastic had to be reinforced. It is our intent, after completion of the estimates to enclose the outside in plywood, while waiting for repairs (to improve the looks a bit). Rittenhouse Oil Company arrived to deliver their automatic fuel delivery (they were able to squeeze in only an additional 13.4 gallons). On 3 Feb 2011, three quotes for the repair of the Tenant House secondary to the car accident. Hard-copies of these quotes have been made available to Lance/Dean. The quotes are: (1) First Class Construction, est. 2003, 19 Wesley Woods Ct, Kingsville, MD 21087 - $4,500.00 - MHIC # 80377; (2) Pro Design Home Improvement, 3519 Mc Shane Way, Baltimore, MD 21222 - $5,500.00 - MHIC # 101241, and, (3) Old World Stone Masonry INC, est. 1999, 12906 Fork Road, Baldwin, MD, 21013 - $2,900.00 to $3,200.00 (with tent). In my opinion, all three understood the requirements for repair, all three demonstrated by oral presentation and pictures of similar work that they had experience and all three could do the job in a proficient and timely matter. On 5 Feb 2011, GFSP approved the recommendation and submitted Old World Stone Masonry bill to Geico Insurance. On 1 Mar 2011, Geico Insurance cut a check to Old World Stone Masonry for $3,200.00.
On Wednesday, 9 Mar 2011, Old World Stone Masonry initiated work on the Tenant House with a full crew of eight individual to complete the effort in one day. Their first focus was the building’s corner area. The gently removed the stones from the corner. The wooden, hand-cut, foundation base plate beams were in excellent shape (see attached picture below on Left). The crew immediately started to re-build the corner. Once the corner was fully supported, the crew continued to remove all the dislocated stones and re-mortar all the stones in the foundation. A rough opening for the cellar window was left open for installation by volunteers from FOJM. After the work was complete, a protective 6 mil plastic wrap was installed to cover the new wall prior to the evening rain. The gutter downspout was re-installed for the same reason. An inspection of the Tenant House the following day showed no water damage (see attached picture below).
On 12 Mar 2011, Ray Velez and Chris Scovill applied final white wash over the foundation and installed a protective barrier for the window opening. On 2 Apr 2011 volunteers from Mountain Christian Church finished the white-wash of the entire foundation of the original portion of the Tenant House. On 24 Mar 2011, The Maryland Conservation Corp crew finished the trim in the sitting room/front parlor and started the trim in the old post office, both on the first floor.
On 2 Apr 2011, the Mountain Christian Church volunteers finished the trim in the old post office and finished the first coat of prime in the large room on the top floor (see attached picture below of final sitting room on left, post office room in center and top floor large room on right).
On 9 Mar 2013 volunteers from Mountain Christian Church joined additional volunteers from FOJM for jobs within the village. First, Joan Scovill with help from Andrea Staschak served up a wonderful feast of drinks, snacks, cakes, treats and fruit for all to enjoy in front of a wonderful hearth fire (see attached pictures above on left). Second, the donated loom “puzzle” was cleaned and assembled by Megan with help from Mom and her friends. Lastly, final coat painting was completed on the top floor and several more doors were primed.
In May 2013 volunteers from the Mountain Christian Church, Friends of Jerusalem Mill, Gunpowder United Mountain Bike Operators and the Percy Lee Dairy Farm Foundation worked in Historical Jerusalem Mill Village. The activities included: installing a new drain behind the bank barn; spreading stone on the Jericho Covered Bridge Trail (stone donated by Dixie Construction), painting inside the Tenant Farmer's/Post Office house; painting the second coat on the Eagle Scout pumphouse, completing emergency repairs on the stone walls of the bankbarn; uncovering the floor drain from the furnace room of the Tenant Farmer’s/Post Office House to the outside to help drainage issues (see attached pictures below).
In Oct 2013, volunteers from Mountain Christian Church Second Saturday Serve, students, Boy Scouts and others volunteers joined for a workday at the bankbarn and tenant farmer's house in historical Jerusalem Mill Village. One team painted the final portion of the 2 nd floor hallway, while another team painted signs for the Jericho Covered Bridge trail and bulletin boards. They also completed the restoration of severely damaged flooring on the first floor and completed the installation of a reinforcing support wall in the Tenant Farmer's/Post Office House (see attached pictures below). Most of the damage was done by improper installation of cast iron drain plumbing before the property was owned by the Gunpowder Falls State Park.
In Dec 2013, Kevin and Sean completed the installation of the last two two inch by 8 inch pressure treated support floor joists in the basement and secured them together with through bolt carriage bolts; Raven, Natalie and Nick removed the rotten drywall ceiling and wall in the tenant house bathroom (see attached picture above in center).
On Tuesday, 1 Apr 2014 (April Fool’s Day), the MCC crew arrived at Historic Jerusalem Mill Village at 8:30 AM wearing birthday caps and carrying gifts for Saint Joan Scovill of Jerusalem Mill. Since the ‘no-name stream” overflows and floods the Tenant Farmer’s/Post Office House, a stone wall was constructed to prot ect the entrance to the basement. Granite foundation stones salvaged from the Franklinville Cotton Factory, were arranged in a circular pattern starting at the back corner of the foundation and extended beyond the cellar door. First a one foot deep, two foot wide trench was dug and stones, set in mortar, were carefully placed in a traditional pattern to make a three foot high retaining wall/levee.
On Friday, 18 Apr 2014, the MCC crew returned to the Historic Jerusalem Mill Village at 8:30 AM and immediately took advantage of the feast prepared by Saint Joan Scovill. After a hardy snack, the crew got to work. The crew worked to complete the “dam wall” behind the tenant house. The wall looks great! Ray Rios-Velez later added a gate (see below).
In Jun 2014, the MCC Crew and the Mountain Christian Church volunteers pressure-washed, scraped, primed and painted both porches of the Tenant House and Post Office (see attached pictures below).
In Dec 2014, Old World Stone Masonry installed new hearths for the kitchen (grey-blue flagstone) and first floor room (large blue stones with a rough-cut edge); the Chimney Doctor installed new stainless steel liners and hooked up both stoves, and, Old World Stone Masonry installed a blue stone chimney cap (see attached pictures below). The stove was used successfully duriing the Charles Dickens’s Christmas in the Village on 7 Dec 2014 for the period music performers and the kitchen stove will be used to warm the building during the winter construction.
5. Farm Environment:
a. Entrance: In Nov 2011, Volunteers worked to improve the entrance on Jericho Road to the bankbarn. As part of his Eagle Scout Service Project, Preston Jones completed a new gate to the Bank Barn. In Dec 11, Preston Jones stained the gate “Federal Gray” to match the aged split rail fence on either side.
In Dec 11, the Maryland Conservation Corps GFSP crew completed the split rail fence on both sides of the gate with pedestrian opening; installed guillotine latch on gate along with hot-dipped galvanized “O” rings for chain and added chain with master lock.
In Dec 11, the Maryland Conservation Corps GFSP crew installed a stone barrier for Bank Barn driveway to help re-shape the driveway at the Bank Barn. The new gate at the Bank Barn has moved the driveway slightly to the left of the building. The entrance driveway will be extended. Concrete/mortar will be used to secure a low stone edge barrier to this extension. The stones are already in place. Concrete/mortar will be mixed and placed on the inside edge, hidden slightly below the eventual position of the stone. Number 57 stone was used to fill the void.
On 8 Dec 12, volunteers from Mountain Christian Church dug support poles for a split rail fence alongside overflow parking lot near the bank barn (see attached picture below on left and center). Several other volunteers weed-wacked, cut grass, and cleaned up fallen branches, trash, etc., around the village in preparation for winter (see attached picture below).
b. Antique Farm Equiment: In 2011, The Percy Lee Dairy Farm Foundation started collecting antique farm equipment. The first item was a plow. On Dec 11, the Maryland Conservation Corps GFSP crew created a plow display just inside the split rail fence by the gate. The plow was donated by a client of Harry Sanders and is representative of equipment used in the area. MCC dug a flat section, installed metal boundaries, added one ton of sand, obtained brick from Jim White and other sources, installed herringbone pattern of red brick and placed plow on top of the brick platform for display. An old cast iron gear was found while digging on the surface.
In July 2014, we added a hay-rake and an wagon. On Friday, 25 Jul 2014, Andrew Corson, Eagle Scout candidate completed work on benches and railing for the farm wagon (see attached pictures below).
In Dec 2014, during Second Saturday Volunteer Day, volunteers moved the farm equipment out of the way, and applied a fresh layer of sand on top the existing bricks which has sunk in the soil and added an expanded new layer of brick on top and re-positioned the farm equipment.
c. Farming: In Jan 2014 the Percy Lee Dairy Farm Foundation Inc., started “The Bee Hive” experiment. We will have one bee hive at the end of the woods/fence about 100 yards behind the bankbarn (beyond the tree line). The Nucs ($140.00) were delivered in April 2014. Our first steps were to (1) finalize site; (2) clearing space, and (3) set up split-rail fence with a gate, all before April 2014. A Girl Scout Troop that needed a "wildlife project" installed the fence and received a talk on bees from Ranger Sarah Witcher. According to Chris, bee hives were a standard practice at the time to support crops.