Chimney Removal:

The Sweeney crew began removing the chimney on September 14th. They patched the roof after the chimney was removed below the roof-line. Bricks were passed down to the dumpster trailer by a pulley system. The same pulley system was used to hoist insulation to the attic. Insulation batts (12” thick) were installed in the attic to help control summer heat on the 4th floor. During this process, the temperature controlled exhaust fan was tested and found not to be working and deemed not worth repairing. A new temperature controlled exhaust fan will be installed before the 2017 opening.

As the chimney was removed on the upper floors, the Sweeny crew provided rough construction to close-up the chimney openings. It is planned that volunteers will perform the finish work for that rough construction (e.g., patch carpets, install new ceiling tiles, add woodwork, patch holes, paint, etc.). This work has begun. The host kitchen damage required the removal of the sliding door closet. Stock cabinets were installed to repair the damage. Finish work in the halls has begun. It will be finished by volunteers either this fall or next spring. In addition, the chimney removal created a good deal of dirt and dust. Sheila Wallace has cleaned a majority of that dust, but our cleaning company will be needed in the spring to provide a deep cleaning after elevator installation.  

During the chimney removal process, and as a result of demolition exposing floor beams and window wells, five structural issues were noticed. Accordingly, chimney removal was halted at the first floor until the five structural issues could be resolved.

The first issue was floor sagging in the area of the 1st floor toilet room and entrance to the host kitchen. This was due to plumbers removing parts of support beams in years past.

The second issue involved the use of the chimney structure to holdup the main dining room 25’ support beam that runs from the dining room door area to the chimney. This important beam supports the middle part of the house.

The third issue was extensive water related wood rot and cement erosion associated with windows in the kitchen on both the Shaw and Westervelt sides.

The fourth issue involved the floor in the kitchen area. The floor was poured in layers, not as a single pour. Work on the floor to address 1st floor sagging and drainage caused the floor to crumble. 

The fifth issue involved water leakage through the 1st level porch causing mold and dining room ceiling water damage.

Next step: Evaluate and resolve structural issues uncovered during demolition and chimney removal.