For the last few weeks the Brewery Arts Center has been under wraps, its entire east wall wrapped up in scaffolding and tarps. They’ve been resurfacing the bricks; since the building was built in 1865 the brick wall has gone through all sorts of degradation. It’s been painted, it’s been re-mortared, it’s had grout sealer applied, it’s been painted again, it’s put up with 150 years of being beaten down by the elements. Brick walls can last a long time, but they can last even longer if they’re properly taken care of, and this wall has not been treated the best over its life.
So they decided to give it a makeover and fix it up. After it was wrapped up in tarps they removed the old paint, they took off the grout sealer, they patched up the parts that needed repair, and they used modern techniques to preserve the wall and give it the best chance of lasting as long as it can. And then they took the tarps down for everyone to see.
And holy cow it looks good! I had heard that they were going to leave the paint off so the natural color of the brick could shine through. This building has been yellow probably as long as I can remember, but of course bricks are usually red. So now the whole east wall is a nice brick red, the way it should be, the way it was when it was built and probably for decades after. They didn’t go overboard either, and try to make it look brand new. These are old bricks, and they’re definitely showing their age. but what they did works with the flaws instead of trying to cover them up. I think it looks pretty fantastic, and hopefully we’ll see them wrap up the other walls soon and give them the same treatment. This new look gives the whole building a freshness that brightens up the corner. It’s good to see our old buildings getting fixed up and staying vibrant.
The building has been painted and sand blasted a number of times since around 1900. When the building was aquired by the Carson City Arts Alliance in the late 70’s there was not enough money to chemically strip and restore the building’s exterior. When John Procacinni was the Executive Director of the BAC he applied for a grant from the State Historic Preservation Office (SHIO)for the Brick restoration. The BAC was awarded a two part grant, however SHPO could not sell a bond, unfortunately only the first part of the grant was awarded to the BAC. The East wall is now completed and the BAC will need to raise funds to have the rest of the building restored. For more information or to become a member please go to http://www.breweryarts.org
I hope we don’t stop the restoration based on the availability of government or pseudo-government grants or bonds. Corporations, also, provide historical preservation grants as part of their civic goals. And, the Tallac Historic Site at South Lake Tahoe is testimony to the efforts of volunteers.
The Tallac Historic Site is owned and operated by the U.S. Forest Service, but much of the work is done by skilled volunteers, many of whom are retired electricians, carpenters, roofers, plumbers,decoraters and landscapers. You name it, they can fix it! I volunteered as a docent there many years ago, when I lived at the lake, and I can honestly say that what those volunteers do is nothing less than amazing. Surely, we have volunteers in Carson City who would like to contribute to historical preservation.
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