Hunter Research, Inc. received a 2019 Preservation Achievement Award from the New Hampshire Preservation Alliance for the firm’s work on the “Restoration, Rehabilitation and Stewardship of the Stewartstown Bridge.” The Stewartstown Bridge, also known as the Beecher Falls Bridge, crosses the Connecticut River between New Hampshire and Vermont near the Canadian border. The steel deck arch bridge is a two-rib, two-hinge, spandrel-braced design. Erected in 1930-1931, the bridge is historically noteworthy as having received the American Institute of Steel Construction’s “Most Beautiful Steel Bridge Award,” adding to the reputation of its designing engineer Harold E. Langley as an expert in steel arch bridges. As a member of a New Hampshire Department of Transportation led team, Hunter Research supported the project through completion of a Phase I archaeology study and a historic structures report (HSR). The HSR was instrumental in providing historically based data to inform decisions guiding restoration and rehabilitation activities from selection of historically appropriate railings, which would meet current standards, to methods of repairing the riveted steel arch ribs. The project was completed with a finding of no adverse effect on the historic bridge. For more information on the project and the award click this link.
Hunter Research is working with Mills + Schnoering Architects for the County of Mercer in the creation of a stabilized ruin of the John Rogers House in Mercer County Park, New Jersey. This long-abandoned dwelling is a patterned-brick farmhouse typical of the colonial period in the Lower Delaware Valley. The date in the gable end of this house, picked out in vitrified brick, has long been the subject of debate. Does it read, “1751” or “1761”? In recent years the later date has been gaining greater acceptance. During the dismantling of the house interior several handhewn framing timbers were salvaged by archaeological monitors working in concert with the general contractor. Since several of these beams retained a “waney edge” they were considered good candidates for tree-ring dating. Samples were submitted for analysis to Dr. Daniel L. Druckenbrod, Associate Professor of Geological, Environmental and Marine Sciences at Rider University. According to Dr. Druckenbrod, the results conclusively show that the timbers analyzed were cut “between the late growing season of 1751 but before the start of the 1752 growing season.” Now we can finally put the debate over the age of this house to rest. 1751 wins!
Hunter Research has just recently completed for Mercer County a year-long study of the storied section of Baldpate Mountain known as Honey Hollow. For decades, this locale has been posited as a focus of free black settlement, with as many as 50 families supposedly living in close proximity to one another on the mountain’s wooded, rocky slopes. Through exhaustive research into primary documents, field survey and oral history, the African-American presence on Baldpate Mountain is shown to be relatively light, widely dispersed, and peaking in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. There was no nucleated black settlement per se on Baldpate Mountain and this idea apparently originated in the mid-20th century in the writings of popular folklorist Henry Charlton Beck. The report is available here.