Preserving the Staircase

The existing treads in Independence Hall's staircase were badly worn by the 1950's. The treads presented a hazard to visitors, but the park's historic architects feared that their removal and replacement would require disassembling the original staircase. To avoid disassembling the staircase and causing possible damage, the professionals devised the ingenious solution of slip-in treads.

 
Photograph of stair tread in Independence Hall's staircase with ruler showing the degree of wear caused by visitors' feet.
This "before" photo shows a stair tread in Independence Hall that was worn by more than half of an inch.  Park architects worked with a professional stair builder to devise an innovative solution to the problem.

NPS photo

 
A sequence of three photographs showing the process of stair tread repair.
To replace the worn treads while maintaining the integrity of the original woodwork, professionals removed the main walking surface and left the tread ends intact.  New sections of boards were cut, then slipped in and fastened into place.

NPS photo

 
Photograph showing the newly replaced slip-in stair tread on Independence Hall's staircase.
The slip-in treads offered the perfect preservation solution.  They addressed the areas in need of repair without damaging the original structure, and they can be easily replaced in the future as foot traffic causes wear over time.

NPS photo

Last updated: February 26, 2015

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Mailing Address:

143 S. 3rd Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106

Phone:

(215) 965-2305

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