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Restoring Delaware Historical Society’s Hidden Gem

July 9, 2020 • 2 MIN READ

EDiS Company worked on behalf of the Delaware Historical Society (DHS) to complete repairs they needed done on The Annex building directly adjacent to their research library and archives at 505 North Market Street. When it came time to repair parts of the library itself, the DHS took the opportunity to have it restored by EDiS as well. Cement covering the upper portion of the facade had fallen onto the unoccupied street below, and DHS was concerned that the remainder might eventually fall too. They called on EDiS Company and Senior Superintendent and Manager of the Interiors/Service Division Joe Pedicone to safely remove the cement covering from the three remaining medallions.

Referencing historical photos, DHS knew that there was something hidden beneath the three cement coverings. The EDiS Interiors Team realized this wasn’t just a simple cement removal job but a restorative one, one that would require great care. The three medallions carved into limestone with intricate details and symbols would need to be exposed. The building was built in 1930 by Artisans’ Savings Bank who had the medallions carved upon the building’s completion. They remained displayed there until 1972 when Artisans’ Savings Bank moved to a larger building at the corner of 9th and Tatnall Street. The building’s carvings were covered over by cement as part of the ownership transition. It would be nearly 50 years later that they were re-discovered.

The two materials, limestone and cement, hadn’t bonded properly in 1972 when they were filled because of their difference in density, causing them to expand and contract at different rates. If the removal job had been done only 20 years ago, the medallions could have been destroyed due to the limestone not having enough time to release from the cement. If noticed too late or removed too roughly, the carvings would have been lost when the cement was removed from their surface.

Joe and his team barricaded the street below for safety before beginning a two-day renovation. The team used chippers and saws to carefully remove the remaining cement before power-washing and brushing the limestone. With the polishing and refinishing of the limestone medallions completed, the building was restored to its former glory, just as it had been 90 years ago.

“EDiS helped us reveal a lovely, hidden historic feature. We’ve had lots of comments from people who are delighted to see some history they didn’t know about.” – David Young, Executive Director, Delaware Historical Society