Davidge Hall - South Entrance - Post Construction
Deteriorated Window Muntin
Deteriorated Window Muntin
Davidge Hall - Installing Restored Windows
North Arch Repair
North Arch Repair
North Arch Completed
Exterior Masonry Repair
South Entrance Prepared Columns
South Entrance - 200 Year Anniversary

Davidge Hall Restoration

Project Description 

Baltimore's Davidge Hall was originally built in 1807 and stands today as the oldest anatomical hall in continual use for medical education in the English-speaking world. Yet time's effects had taken its toll on the historic structure. In 2006, Baltimore-based STRUCTURAL was called upon to restore Davidge Hall's 200-year-old windows and doors to replicate the original in profile, substance and appearance, using as much original material as possible. Deteriorated muntins required replacement, with a tolerance of 1/1000 of an inch. These required four set ups with four different router bits. The original glass was salvaged and replaced. Dutchman repairs were employed where material was missing or deteriorated, and no screws or metals were used in repairs - all pieces were dowelled and glued. The original wood was identified and matched for the repair. The latches, pulleys and pulls for the windows had suffered damage from years of use and exposure to the elements. Exact matches for the unique pieces needed to be acquired if the original could not be repaired. In addition to these elements, pavers and plaster were also repaired.

This unique project required a high-end craftsman and mill rights person to ensure that the restored and repaired elements identically matched the original. The historian for this project wanted the pieces duplicated in a manner so that the project did not look like it was repaired. STRUCTURAL's extensive experience in historic preservation projects made them the right contractor for the job because they have an intimate understanding of the process required to achieve success with historic preservation and repair projects. For example, STRUCTURAL had to find exact duplicates for the pulleys and hardware for the windows. This process required a significant amount of research to determine where to acquire these unique elements. STRUCTURAL researched these pieces before the project began and ensured that the historian was comfortable with any substitutions that had to be made.

One of the most challenging elements of this project was restoring the signage on the front of the building. The historian for the project wanted the letters put on the facility exactly as they were in 1807. STRUCTURAL had to ensure that the spacing for the letters was precise and attention to detail was crucial for this element of the project. Multiple prototypes were created for the letters, so the historian could review and approve. The sign had to be placed without the letters so it could be reviewed before the repair was approved and completed. Completed in 11 months, the project was deemed a success by the owner and the historian.