St. Pat’s Chapel Still Active
Although the coronavirus epidemic has cancelled events for practically all social and community activities, its’ impact has not “shut-the-doors” at our chapel. Yes, we did have to cancel some chapel events this past spring, but members of the chapel organization have been busy attending to some “housekeeping” chores. Let me explain. First of all, we have contracted to have the chapel painted later this year. In addition, several months ago we noticed that hairline interior wall cracks had developed beneath all three south-facing windows. These cracks were repaired but an inspection of the three window sills revealed that the all three wood sills were rotten. (In order to allow sunlight into the chapel. the shutters on that side of the building are always left open). Did the rotten sills allow rain water to damage the plaster wall beneath the windows? This seemed like a reasonable cause-and-effect. In any case we have contracted with a carpenter to replace all three south-facing sills. – But that is not the end of the story – While this was “going on”, Chris Quinn and a masonry-skilled friend inspected the south facing foundation via the floor trap door. What they discovered was that the interior side of the south side stone foundation had many dislodged stones – was the foundation falling apart? If that were the case, it would be reasonable to assume that the whole south wall of the building was sinking and this would account for the cracks beneath all three windows !
Most people are unaware that when the chapel was restored the major structural problem was located at the northeast corner of the building – the northeast corner foundation had deteriorated and the wooden structure above was rotten. In order to repair this damage the whole building was raised and a new foundation installed. The south side foundation was deemed adequate, but only the exterior side of the south side foundation was repointed. Now, the sooner we repair the south side foundation, the sooner we can eliminate any anxieties. We have identified a contractor who will address that problem.
In many ways I guess we can be thankful for those little wall cracks beneath the south facing windows. This may sound a little bit corny but it may have been the chapel’s way of telling us that it had a problem down below. We’ll keep you posted.
Bill Paré The Friends of St. Patrick’s Chapel UPDATE is distributed to folks interested in the future of St. Patrick’s Chapel. If you know anyone who might be interested in receiving this information, please send me their name and e-mail address. My contact information: 410-658-4378, or e-mail email@example.com