Commonwealth Preservation Group

Powell-Ablard House, Alexandria, VA

Powell-Ablard House- winter power line damage

Powell-Ablard House, Alexandria

The Powell-Ablard house is a c1840 brick dwelling within the Alexandria Historic District, located on a fairly large urban lot. In 2010-11, a series of violent ice storms caused structural damage to the house. Snow-laden branches yanked power cords from the walls, and a large ice dam caused the dwelling’s brick veneer to delaminate from the structural façade. To address these weather-related issues, a structural engineer inserted tie rods within the floors at the dwelling’s second and third levels, to stabilize the exterior walls. After it was discovered that a 1989 renovation had replaced most of the historic mortar with Portland cement, brick was thoroughly examined for signs of weakness attributable to mortar strength. Repointing was accomplished as necessary. On the building’s southern elevation, a deteriorated wood frame pergola was removed to make way for a sunroom addition. According to Sanborn maps, this new room is located at the site of a vanished three-story addition, which had been installed when the dwelling housed multiple families. The project scope also included systems updates and interior maintenance such as plaster repair.

Although this application was filed largely after the fact, as the owner was unaware of Virginia’s rehabilitation program at the outset of the renovation, the completed work qualified for tax credits.

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