Restoration of the 1883 UMBC structure involves a lot of discovery and adaptation. With a primary goal of protecting and maintaining existing materials, our very careful crew is doing a lot of repair and replacement using traditional or substitute materials. In some cases, archaeology on the site or in the walls is informing our restoration decisions. For example, electricity was not available until after the first quarter of the 20th Century. Kerosene lamps lit homes, businesses, and churches prior to the arrival of the Edison bulb. For those more able, decorative cast iron mountings with swing arms and reflectors were popular.
Kari Dickson, project anthropologist and archaeologist, posed this question early in the discovery work, “would the church have access to the decorative cast iron mountings and chimneys of the more stylish lamps of the period?”
During the excavations, artifacts uncovered answered this question. To support this, the decorative beaded rim of the glass chimney was also found. “With these finds, we are able to conclude that these more basic lamps would have been present in this space prior to the introduction of electricity,” stated Ms. Dickson.
Responding to findings, Ms. Dickson recommended the inclusion of the sconce lighting shown at right, which comes very close to the style actually found. These, outfitted with Edison LED “flicker” bulbs, will adorn the walls and provide a special effect for services or events at night.
In addition, while removing bead board for reuse, an old structural arch was discovered over the entrance to the sanctuary. After scrutiny with the known chronology of the structure, it has been determined by our General Contractor that the archway was original and was “matched” with an arch between and above the pulpit and choir loft.
This matching may have been completed when the 10 ft. extension was added to the sancturary.
Both arches were rounded using plywood over 2 X 4 studs behind. The framing was all that was visible inside the front entrance. Again, what was found using architectural archaeology was incorporated into our renovation plan.