C&O Canal National Historical Park

Location: Potomac, MD
Age/Built: Circa 1830
Adaptive Reuse, Facade Repair and Attachment, Services, Stabilization of Historic Structures, Testing and Analysis

Project Background:

  • The Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historic Park, located along the C&O Canal’s original 184.5 mile footprint, is a United States National Historical Park that hosts over 3 million visitors every year
  • The park was established as a National Monument in1961 by President Dwight D. Eisenhower and taken overby the National Park Service in 1971
  • Lockhouse 22 is a member of the National Register ofHistoric Places and one of the park’s earliest structures
  • As part of the innovative new Canal Quarters program, park managers undertook efforts to preserve and restore Lockhouse 22 with the goal of renting it nightly to a variety tourists and history enthusiasts

Challenges Presented:

  • Over its long lifetime, the lockhouse’s façade become unstable to the point of serious concern, with separation between the masonry wythes and crumbling mortar
  • Any intervention would need to be in keeping with the Secretary of Interior's Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties/Preservation

Services and Solutions:

  • Masonry Solutions started by evaluating the façade using non-destructive evaluation, allowing the project team to figure on the most effective course of intervention
  • Large inner voids were uncovered during the course of this evaluation, leading to the determination that injection would be the most appropriate solution
  • Masonry Solutions laboratory engineers then developed a compatible injection material that was sympathetic to the host’s particular characteristics
  • MSI technicians, following a low-pressure injection protocol, safely injected the building’s entire façade
  • The original deteriorated mortar, which had little bond or stability, was encapsulated and inner voids were impregnated during the compatible injection, restoring the original characteristics of the structure
  • Stainless steel reinforcements were also carefully installed by MSI technicians to provide lateral support
  • Further NDE demonstrated the solidity of the masonry units and the achievement of all project goals
  • Close coordination with the National Park Service was maintained throughout the process
  • Following MSI’s intervention, Lockhouse 22 was the first in the Canal Quarters program to host an overnight guest
  • Today the program has been expanded to include several structures and is the recipient of multiple awards