Featured Project: Wood Conservation
Centennial Comfort Stations
Fairmount Park Commission
Built as restroom facilities for the 1876 Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia, the two Centennial Comfort Stations are located to the south of the Horticultural Hall Complex in West Fairmount Park, Philadelphia. Remarkably, the two structures are among the few surviving utilitarian facilities from any nineteenth century international exposition. Both buildings are similar in construction and plan, constructed of brick with unique small mortar joints or “butter” joints, with wooden exterior elements, slate roofs, and copper detailing. Currently used as storage sheds, the buildings are in the process of being re-used as office space for the Japanese house (Shofuso).
The Trust began the conservation of the buildings’ millwork in 2011. The project includes restoration of the building’s historic windows, consolidation and epoxy filling of door and window jambs, the conservation and replication of original exterior woodwork where needed, and the installation of salvaged exterior doors. For replicated crown molding, the Trust used thermally treated poplar wood. Poplar, which is traditional unsuitably for exterior wood but easily available locally, becomes more water resistant and decay resistant when treated with gradual heat.
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