Restoration Progress, 2003 State of Alaska sponsored Project #1365:
The planning and logistics for the summer 2003 phase of the Rapids Roadhouse restoration project were greatly facilitated by previous summer’s experience; the coordinator and crew knew what to expect in terms of logistics and mobilization. Many visitors stopped by to admire the handiwork and to wish us well. This year the primary workers on the job included Richard Musick, Tom Sorensen, Carrie Farr, Dustin Sherman, Mark Neilson, Mike Musick as the General Contractor and Sandy Jamieson. Many volunteers offered their assistance with tremendous help from Mary Liston, Tom Paragi, Heiko Meister and Antje Meister. Mike Hopper was instrumental in assisting with logistics and hauling cribbing, logs and whatever else needed to be transported.
Significant observations and comments
Cribbing: The cribbing style utilized this summer was a tremendous improvement over our last summer’s more traditional approach; on-site modifications saved the project 3-4 days of time and significantly reduced the amount of cribbing and thus it’s hauling. During the summer of 2002, we used three cribs per section, whereas this year we used one crib (1/3 less). We also did not have to purchase big, cross-section carry beams, usually 10 x10′s. The corner crib style designed by Tom Sorensen used available logs with one crib per corner.
Clean-Up and Frozen Ground: Everyone worked well together and was able to gut and clean up the interior of sections 4 & 5 without incident. Though the ground was still frozen, the crew was able to loosen up the ice. As quoted by Tom Sorensen, “It was 1,000 pick axe swings per square foot.”
Additional footers/foundation for sections 4 & 5: Initially work this summer’s restorative efforts were to be limited to the two sections immediately joining the original Roadhouse, sections 2 and 3 & 8. These sections had been dismantled due to water rot and were painstakingly recreated over the winter of 2002/03 using as much of the original log as were salvageable. However, when faced with the prospect of inserting those sections back on site, it became apparent that the two sections just north of sections 2 &3, sections 4 & 5, had to be positioned and restored on their own continuous footer so as to be in place for the ultimate replacement and reattachment of the restored 2 & 3. Restoration of those two sections, the construction of a continuous footer for all four sections, and the reassembly of walls of section 2, depleted the remaining budget and the project had to be shut down before we were able to reconstruct sections 3 and roof 2 & 3. We predict we need at least one more week of labor along with the roofing materials to complete the contiguous north-south sections of the Roadhouse, sections 1 through 8. Everything required to finish sections 2 & 3 is on site now. This phase of the project only required one day for cutting roof poles for sections 2 & 3. These were stored in section #7 for future efforts.
Worker observations and discussion about sectional history of building: It was the observation and opinion of several of the crew members that section #7 was probably built first as a one story with the second story being added on at a later date because the corner notching changed.
The kitchen, section 1, appeared to have been added on at a later date. Sections 2, 3, 4 & 5 were possibly brought in from another location and added onto the original structure. The notable differences in notching techniques on the various corners, the difference in materials used for the walls and roof poles, and the poorer construction method seemed to support this theory.
The windows on the west side were leveled but not straight. The roof was in amazing condition in sections 4 & 5. Water poured in between sections 2 & 3 which created the need to rebuild sections 2 & 3. Flashing will have to be added to avoid this in the future. Canvas materials for the walls and roof still need to be located.
Possible Theory: The prevailing theory amongst the crew is that existing structure now known as the Rapids Roadhouse represents a composite of some sections of the original roadhouse that were later combined with the later Rapids Hunting Lodge.
Discoveries: 1) 57 Roberts Cartridge cases, (US Government issued, 3006) were found. 2) Potato burlap bags from discovered. Bags are labeled with: “Farmers Brand Potatoes, Shipper: Sunspiced, Inc. Moses Lake, Wash.88837, 100 LBS net weight, Produce U.S.A.”
Synopsis of Completed Work
Week 1: May 13 – May 18, 2003
Mobilization of logs, equipment, food, site staging began. Logs, cribbing and equipment was loaded and transported to the restoration site. The weather was a bit brutal, mixed with snow, rain, sleet and hail. The old fireplace served a center for warmth, though it smoked up the room considerably. The major part of the clean up of sections 4 & 5 took one day; clean-up efforts were continued to a lesser degree throughout the week. The burn pile behind the roadhouse is now too big to burn and too close to the structure. Mounds of garbage were hauled away from the site as well.Mark Nielsen began the needed dirt work with the backhoe. Ice was found around the foundation of these two sections and the crew chipped away at it as needed. The jacking, cribbing and bracing of these two sections began.
The needed dirt work was completed and cribbing of the buildings followed. A new style of diagonal cribbing was employed and we believe saved the project a week of labor. Beams were bolted.
Video tape details work completed this week.
Week 2: May 21 – May 25, 2003
Bracing of timbers was completed. Additional logs were loaded and transported to the site. Jacking of the structure continued and rotted logs were removed. The backhoe helped move out unnecessary dirt. Dirt work was completed. The crew finished the grade and compacting of the site.
Week 3: May 28 – June 1, 2003
Concrete was poured into the footers in one day. The crew began rebuilding the lower rounds on sections four and five. The log and axe work continued.
The first logs were set on the foundation of sections four and five. Treated 8×8 sill beams were attached to the foundation. The crew began bringing in the rebuilt sections of two and three.Week 4: June 3 – June 8, 2003
The crew was inspired and felt like they were heading towards the finish line. Sandy Jamieson joined the crew along with two German volunteers. Mary Liston arrived again to help feed the crew. The concentration this week was finishing the replacement of rounds on sections three and four and log work of sections 3 and 4. Chinking efforts began. Moss was again found locally.
Week 5: June 11 – 12, 2003
The project had to be shut down at the beginning of the week because of budget constraints. The crew returned on June 11th to retrieve their tools and store logs needed for future completion efforts. The momentum to finish was very high and everyone was very disappointed to stop at such an important juncture. Fund raising efforts have ensued.Concerns: The crew expressed their concerns about leaving the logs exposed in sections 2 & 3 this winter. Every effort will be made to protect these logs until the project can continue. The momentum is high and the desire to finish this phase of the project is strong. The legacy of this structure becomes more important as people stop by and add their stories to its history. A guest book continues to be used.