Monday, September 9, 2013

Who Works Here? Greg

Get to know the WCHP staff through these monthly posts! Each one will highlight a different employee. This month: Greg.

Greg graduated from the University of Wyoming and holds a degree in Recreation and Park Planning. His first park job was at Fort Laramie National Historic Site where he worked on historic structures and ruins.  He was one of the four original people hired at the Western Center for Historic Preservation after it was established in 2005, and is involved in project administration and training.  As a project manager he is responsible for projects from selection to closeout.  He also doubles as the center's safety guru and is an instructor in the WCHP preservation training program.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Thank You Volunteers!

Roger teaching BCC volunteers to check
for even ground when digging.

The Western Center for Historic Preservation would personally like to thank all of the groups who came out to White Grass Dude Ranch this past July, all of whom were courteous, enthusiastic and extremely helpful with our restoration efforts. It is because of volunteers that the Western Center for Historic Preservation can realize preservation projects like White Grass, and keep a bit of history alive. Between the three Becket Chimney Corner camp groups we had this summer, half of the exterior chinking on the largest building is now complete! BCC volunteers also helped with grading the soil behind the main cabin (to promote proper water drainage), peeling logs, helping to rebuild a buck and pole fence by the entrance gate, and building a protective log box for a spruce tree by one of the cabins.


We also hosted an open work week, and had two volunteers, Allen and Julie (a former dude), living in he restored cabins and working with our crews for an entire week. Cabin #1159 (the fireplace cabin) had the entire north side of the roof taken off and replaced by new 1x4 decking, felt and a layer of plywood in preparation for the final built up roof. Deteriorated flooring in #1159 was also taken out with the help of our volunteers. Interior furniture was stained, exterior varnishes on the Hammond cabin were touched up, and the ramp hand rails on #1155’s were sanded and oiled.

White Grass also hosted over ten people, staying in the rehabilitated sleeping cabins, for a week in July. These volunteers were helping with the T.A. Molton Barn restoration project as part of the centennial celebration weekend.

All of our volunteers have been instrumental in completing many of our projects here at White Grass Dude Ranch, and we look forward to next summer’s volunteers already! If you are interested in volunteering with the Western Center please contact our volunteer coordinator:


Monday, July 29, 2013

Who Works Here? Al

Get to know the WCHP staff through these monthly posts! Each one will highlight a different employee. This month: Al.

Al has worked for the park service since 1984, and at the White Grass Dude Ranch since it was turned over to the NPS in 1985.  His work in historic preservation dates to 1994 when he helped host a group of volunteers on a project at the historic Mormon Row barns in Grand Teton.  One of the original WCHP employees, Al has been involved with the center since it was just a concept.  He is now the project manager for the White Grass Dude Ranch rehabilitation project, and has been a mentor in the PAST program for the last four years.  He enjoys teaching and sharing what he knows with people, and is a proud member of the preservation community and National Park Service.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

White Grass Circulation and Rehabilitation Schedule

With our summer volunteers beginning to show up this week, we are looking forward to seeing some major tasks be completed at White Grass Dude Ranch! Chinking and daubing the Main Cabin (#1168) and creating the foot-paths (including ADA access) between cabins will be the biggest undertaking for summer volunteers.

Now that we have started the re-vegetation process between the completed cabins, it is important that we designate pathways between all the points of interest at White Grass. Pathways are based off of the historic routes between cabins, egress to the non-sleeping cabins, current disability codes (ADA), roads/parking, and daily visitor access.

The image shown is our updated rehabilitation schedule for White Grass, including our current circulation plan. Many of the original trees on site were removed prior to construction due to rot and beetle kill, and have been re-mapped this year. Once all cabins are complete, it is our hope more trees and flowers will return, surrounding many of the cabins as they once did.  Historic photos curtesy of the Huebner Family. 

July 1967. Footpath to Triple Cabin (#1160)

Cabin #1159. July 1959.

Flagging new path locations for volunteers. July 2013.
Two-track road. July 1956.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Preservation Maintenance at the Brinkerhoff Lodge

In January, the WCHP crew began working on the interior of the Brinkerhoff Lodge and the near-by Caretaker's Cabin in Grand Teton National Park.  Constructed in the 1940s, the Brinkerhoff Lodge has a unique and intact period interior.  Original furniture, fixtures, and finishes elevate it's significance and both individually and collectively help define the historic character of the interior. Furnishings and collections by Thomas Molesworth, a significant figure in creating the Western style of furniture, also contribute to the craft style of the lodge. Because of the unique historic features, careful preservation of the interior integrity is critical. 

  Asbestos removal.                                                    Removing old tiles from the Caretaker's Cabin.

Above: Ben placing new ceiling tiles
Below: old celotex tiles and asbestos.

Approaching the interior problems with the best preservation practices in-mind, the WCHP crew repaired materials wherever possible, and replaced in-kind where the extent of deterioration was too much for repair.  The ceiling tiles presented the largest preservation challenge: the original tiles were celotex, a product no-longer manufactured.  The WCHP considered and experimented with several replacement options, finally deciding to reproduce visually accurate tiles from painted soundboard with beveled edges. The new tiles are entirely reversible, and will allow future generations to repair or replace tiles without further damaging the remaining original tiles.

This preservation maintenance project first required that the historic Molesworth furniture collection from the Brinkerhoff Lodge and the non-historic furnishing from the Caretaker Cottage be moved to Jackson and stored in a secure facility.  Guano abatement and bat exclusion in both buildings coincided with necessary demolition before damaged ceiling tiles and insulation could be replaced in the Brinkerhoff Lodge. The general interior was overall refinished and repaired, including, but not limited to: hardwood floors and stairs; interior log walls and proximate window casings, trusses, cabinetry and doors; the fireplace; bathroom fixtures and plumbing, linoleum and tile floors; electrical wiring and light switch covers. Upon completion, WCHP left both the Brinkerhoff Lodge and the Caretaker’s Cottage cleaned and in a ‘turn-key’ condition so that it may be refurnished in its previous configuration.

Tim puts a citrus-strip coat on the logs
before peelings off old varnish.

Fixing a window sash downtstairs in the lodge.

The hardwood floors, wall logs, and stairs were cleaned before undergoing a series of sanding and refinishing.  

Jeff cleans the upstairs hallway after the new linseed varnish sets.

Finished downstairs room May 2013.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Summer Volunteer Opportunities Announced!

The WCHP and Grand Teton Cultural Resources are happy to announce excellent volunteer opportunities in Grant Teton National Park for the summer of 2013! Our annual White Grass Volunteer Work Week will take place at the White Grass Dude Ranch from July 8-11, and includes lodging in the previously restored cabins. We've got a few volunteers signed up already and still room for more, so talk to your co-workers and friends now about their summer plans now. Deadline to sign up for the White Grass Volunteer Work Week is July 1st, 2013.  

Volunteers will also be staying at White Grass the week of July 14-20 while working on the T.A. Moulton Barn, and have currently filled up the allotted spaces for this session (if you are interested on being on a wait-list to stay at White Grass this week, contact WCHP). We continue the tradition scheduling student volunteer groups throughout the summer, and are always happy to accommodate new faces. If needed, we will open up two additional volunteer work weeks in August, dates to be determined.

No matter if you are by yourself or with a group, both experiences offer volunteers the opportunity to work with preservation experts on unique historic log structures at the base of the beautiful Tetons. 

If you are interested in signing up or learning more about the projects, contact Mackenzie King at  Space is limited and participants will be accommodated on a first come, first served basis.

White Grass Dude Ranch

T.A. Moulton Barn, Mormon Row

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Replacement Logs at the Main Cabin

Check out this cool progression of the WCHP crew moving a replacement log into place last summer.  Over 128 deteriorated logs were replaced in-kind at the Main Cabin at White Grass.  The majority of those logs were on the western kitchen addition, where soil build-up along the logs had expedited deterioration.