When the property's design, architectural, or historical significance
during a particular period of time outweighs the potential loss of extant
materials, features, spaces, and finishes that characterize other historical
periods; when there is substantial physical and documentary evidence for
the work; and when contemporary alterations and additions are not planned,
Restoration may be considered as a treatment.
>> Standards + Guidelines
|| ABOVE: The Monteith House in
its neighborhood context,
prior to Restoration in the
late 1970s. BELOW: Monteith
House as work begins. Note
the changed roofline, loss
of later exterior chimneys,
shutters, and porch.
What happens in Restoration? In this
treatment, materials that can be authenticated to the period of significance
are carefully retained and preserved, while later materials and features
are removed. Restoration is generally recommended less frequently than
Preservation or Rehabilitation because of the potential for loss of historic
materials from other periods and falsification of the record.
At best, Restoration is a painstaking, scholarly process that involves
backdating a structure to a particular time for interpretive purposes—based
on physical and pictorial evidence. Because the Monteith brothers were
pivotal in the early history and settlement of Albany, Oregon, the decision
was made to return the house to its original configuration through Restoration.
In 1975, after the City bought it for conversion to a museum, project
work began. With its emphasis on the discovery and conservation of original
mid-19th century materials, the Monteith House restoration was just such
an exemplary project. Both the exterior and interior were restored and
the house opened as a museum to interpret its “story” to the
Going backward in time
The conservation of original materials and features was paramount; however,
a parallel task was to remove all later features and re-build missing
original features to depict the appearance of the house at an earlier
time. The house was gradually transformed from a 1920s residence to an
1850s residence, through a series of carefully planned restoration activities.
|Focus on conservation
The house’s original wood siding and windows
were carefully preserved.
Exterior Work on the Monteith House
foundation was leveled to repair rotten beams.
roofline was restored to its original appearance.
two-story porch was re-created.
original wood windows were repaired and preserved.
original wood siding was scraped, sanded, and repainted.
later chimney and shutters were removed.
two-story rear kitchen addition was removed and a one-story kitchen re-built.
The restoration of the house involved re-creating the appearance of the
original roof and two-story porch on the primary elevation (left and top
row), and the one-story rear kitchen wing (bottom row). When completed,
the Monteith House was a thoughtful depiction of the structure at its
most significant time in history. It was opened to the public in 1982.
Chronology of the
1848 — Logs cut and left to cure
1849 — Hand-hewn beam construction started
before and after Thomas and Walter Monteith went to the California
1850 — Anderson Cox mill started and cut
Monteith House lumber that winter
1851 — Monteith House Finished
1855 — Fire in kitchen ceiling & in the
single-story rear addition, rebuilt as two-story
1901 — House purchased from Monteith family
by Dr. J.L. Hill moved 50 feet west, and turned to face north
1902 — City Directory gives Monteith House
518 2nd Street address for first time
1914 — Double porch clearly shown in aerial
photo of city
1922 — Extensive exterior alterations made,
including original porch removal
1975 — City of Albany purchases Monteith
House for purposes of restoring it
1976 — House’s foundation made level
1977 — Restoration project in full swing
1982 — "Grand Opening” for the
downstairs portion and exterior
Appreciation is extended to Anne Giffen, Rebecca Bond, Allen Nelson, Doug Killin, Pam Silbernagel, and David Skilton for their generous contributions of time and information in the creation of the case study on Monteith Historic District. Thanks also to the Monteith Historical Society and Albany Region Museum for donating photographic images in their collections.
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