Osterhout Free Library, Exterior Restoration|
Eyerman.Csala.Hapeman & Handman Architects
69 Public Square, #1000, Wilkes-Barre, PA 18701
Date Bid: Nov 2007
Construction Period: Mar 2008 to Sep 2009
Total Square Feet: 11,850
Site: .81 acres.
Number of Buildings: One. Building Size: Building
footprint, 11,850 square feet. Building Height: Total, 65’+/-.
Basic Construction Type: Exterior Historic Restoration.
Exterior Walls: Brick. Roof: Membrane, Pennsylvania slate.
Floors: n/a. Interior Walls: n/a.
Structural Engineer: E. D. Pons & Associates, Inc. - 70 South
Franklin Street, Wilkes-Barre, PA 18701
General Contractor: Masonry Preservation Services, Inc. - 7255
Old Berwick Road, Bloomsburg, PA 17815
Roofing Contractor: General Roofing Systems, Inc. - 13 Dauphin
Street, Wilkes-Barre, PA 18702
Recent scholarship has uncovered documentation indicating that the
second building of Wilkes-Barre's First Presbyterian Church was a
"mail-order" project of New York City Architect James Renwick, Jr.
Renwick (1818-1895) was Architect of New York's St. Patrick's Cathedral
(1853-1887) and the original Castle building (1846) of the Smithsonian
in Washington, D.C. Records show that Renwick was paid for plans sent to
the First Presbyterian Church in Wilkes-Barre, but no record exists of
his visiting Wilkes-Barre prior to submitting his design. Numerous
architectural details of this church building bear an uncanny
resemblance to Renwick’s 1850 Oak Hill Cemetery Chapel in Georgetown,
D.C. Construction began in 1849 on the First Presbyterian Church, it was
dedicated in December 1851 and built at a cost of $15,000.
Except for the Church Bell Tower on the south corner, the original
building remained unaltered for many years. An early rendering, as well
as a pre-1890 photograph, show a tall tapered spire of approximately the
same height as the brick tower on which it rests. Photographs from the
early history of the OFL (c.1900±) show a pyramid shaped roof (of
approximately a 12/12 pitch) resting on top of the original brick Bell
Tower. At some unknown later date (estimated to be c.1908) this roof was
removed, and the crenellated terra cotta, brick parapet wall, and flat
roof (which resembles the tower at the Smithsonian) was built.
In the early 20th century, the OFL continued to expand, and the first of
several additions was begun. In 1906 Wilkes-Barre Architectural firm of
Welsh & Sturdevant was hired to design a 3-story Stack Wing Addition on
the south side of the original building. The similarity in the Terra
Cotta trim on this addition to the Terra Cotta coping on top of the Bell
Tower, leads this writer to believe that the pyramid shaped Bell Tower
roof was removed at this time. Also containing a catalog room and a
repair room, this addition is noteworthy for its 32 stained/leaded glass
windows. Designed by the second head librarian, Miss Myra Poland, the
windows were executed by the H.J. Smith & Sons Co. of Philadelphia and
completed in 1908.
Two modest office additions on the backside of the Library were
completed in 1954 and 1964. The Ken Pollack Children’s Wing on the front
(South) corner was designed by this firm in 1982.
By the beginning of the 21st Century, the original Church Building, as
well as the 1908 Stack Wing, were exhibiting signs of "old age." After
receiving reports from roof and masonry consultants, the Architect was
hired to perform a comprehensive analysis of the OFL facility. The
result of this study was the recommendation of a 5-Phase renovation
program. In 2006 the OFL applied for and received substantial renovation
grants from the Keystone Grant Program of the Commonwealth Libraries and
from Luzerne County.
The Architect was authorized in April 2007 to begin Construction
Documents on the first 3 phases of OFL's exterior renovations, which
included complete masonry restoration of the 1849 former Church, the
“Unknown” Addition and 1908 Stack Wing, as well as the complete
rebuilding (with salvaged brick & terra cotta) of the top 15-feet± of
the Bell Tower. New wood and aluminum louvers were replicated to replace
the deteriorated louvers in the Bell Tower. Stained glass windows in
both portions were removed, restored and reinstalled with new vented
protective storm windows.
A new flat seam copper roof was installed on top of the Bell Tower, and
Black Pennsylvania Slate was replaced on the 1908 Stack Wing. A new
contemporary pole-mounted sign and modest landscaping was also included
in this phase of work. No work was done on the 1954/64 and 1982
additions. Reconstruction of the OFL began in March 2008 and was
completed June 2009.
New Brick: Glen Gery EPDM
Stained Glass Restoration & New Storm Windows: The Baut