This is an image of a deteriorating clock surround on the Colorado County Courthouse, Texas, c. 1970s. Photo: NPS files.
Fitting Your Work to Time and Place
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Working on the Past in Local Historic Districts
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<< The Chrisfield Model : / PRESERVATION / REHABILITATION / RESTORATION / RECONSTRUCTION

This is an image of the property, Chrisfield, after the treatment RECONSTRUCTION was applied in 2030 following the devastating fire in 1999. Based  on the remaining physical remnants, pictorial evidence, and thorough archaeological investigations, Chrisfield is re-built to its 1790s appearance and opened to the public. Only Colonel Chrisfield's life is interpreted. A lift to accommodate individuals with disabilities is added.Drawing: Martha L. Werenfels, AIA, 1993.

Choosing Reconstruction as a Treatment


This is an image of the above-ground remnants of Chrisfield, after the 1999 fire and preceding the house's reconstruction.In this scenario, Chrisfield—closed in 1993—remains boarded up and vacant for several years. In 1999, a fire set by vandals destroys everything but the stone foundation of the main house, the garden wall and portions of the garage.

What happens to the house?
In 2020, historians re-evaluate Colonel Chrisfield's involvement in the important Battle of Rockford Creek. They determine that the 1790s period of the property is highly significant and merits reconstruction. Based on the remaining physical remnants, pictorial evidence, and thorough archaeological investigations, Chrisfield is re-built to its 1790s appearance and opened to the public. Only Colonel Chrisfield's life is interpreted. A lift to accommodate individuals with disabilities is added.

<<HOW THE WORK FITS TIME AND PLACE>>

Reconstructing Chrisfield
After the fire in 1999, only remants of above-ground historic materials are present. The re-built version of the house representing the 1790 occupancy of the original builder is entirely a "depiction" of the 1790s house.

Reconstruction establishes limited opportunities to re-create a non-surviving site, landscape, building, structure, or object in all new materials for interpretive purposes. It is rarely recommended.

<<Key Ideas in the Standards for Reconstruction>>

Do not reconstruct vanished portions of a property unless the reconstruction is essential to the public understanding.

Reconstruct to one period of significance based on documentary and physical evidence.

Precede reconstruction with thorough archeological investigation.

Preserve any remaining historic features.

Re-create the appearance of the property (substitute materials may be used).

Identify the reconstructed property as a contemporary re-creation.

Do not execute a design that was never built.

 

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