Saratoga National Historic Park

Stabilizing a Monument of American History

Location: Saratoga, NY
Age/Built: 1877
Crack Repair, Moisture Prevention, Services, Stabilization of Historic Structures, Testing and Analysis

Project Background:

  • Saratoga National Historic Park was the site of a turning point in the American War for Independence, the Battle of Saratoga
  • A member of the National Register of Historic Places
  • The park and its featured monument were created to commemorate the American victory
  • The National Park Service, concerned about a the safety of their 155 ft. tall obelisk, closed the monument to the public and launched a $2.5 million renovation campaign

Challenges Presented:

  • Severe cracking was visible throughout the granite façade, voids patterns were assumed to be plaguing its structural integrity, and a persistent case of water permeation was threatening its historic fabric
  • Years of deterioration had left conditions unfit for visitors, with pieces of plaster and rusted metal becoming dislodged and falling down inside the staircase
  • The problems were interconnected and required a comprehensive solution, one that would not change the historic appearance of the monument

Services and Solutions:

  • Masonry Solutions laboratory engineers began by evaluating the structure, utilizing sonic pulse velocity to characterize the existing masonry and locate voids within the exterior walls
  • Interior walls were carefully examined using fiber-optic borescoping
  • MSI personnel and project team members found that a compatible injection procedure would eliminate voids and solidify the structure, which in turn would seal pathways for moisture penetration as well as immobilize the granite to thwart cracking
  • MSI laboratory engineers then developed a historically compatible custom lime-based CIF for injection
  • Masonry Solutions technicians, utilizing a low pressure injection protocol, injected the entire 155 ft. structure, plus an additional 15 ft. tall basement wall, providing the whole monument with monolithic performance
  • The project team provided instrumental support to MSI techs, expertly facilitating their endeavors and ensuring a swift, quality project unfolded
  • Further non-destructive evaluation verified the proper filling of voids and cracks and the elimination of future water infiltration
  • MSI’s successful program gave the peace of mind to NPS staff that their monument could once again open to the public without undue concern over its appearance or visitor safety