Completed in 1814, Monumental Church, a National Historic Landmark, was designed by the first native-born architect Robert Mills. It is a civic space built by a community devastated by the tragedy of the Richmond Theatre Fire (1811) to honor their fellow citizens lost in one of the worst urban tragedies of American history of the time.
For several years, Historic Richmond has been planning a high-priority project to address exterior coatings issues and to improve accessibility to Monumental Church. When completed, this project will install a ramp at the West Portico entrance and recoat the entire exterior of the building with a specialized KEIM coating. The installation of the ramp will include ADA-compliant pathways, signage, and hardware and will incorporate recommended site drainage for that portion of the site.
Monumental Church’s exterior shows signs of biological growth, salts, rising damp, and discoloration. It has been 15 years since its exterior stucco was last painted, longer than we would have liked. Due to the specialized nature of the KEIM exterior coatings, we worked with architectural conservators from the Philadelphia office of Building Conservation Associates Inc. to identify exterior coating issues and recommend how to address and repair them. We also are working with a design team to develop plans for the ramp. With a building of Monumental Church’s architectural significance, not surprisingly, this project is expensive and complicated.
Monumental Church’s Ramp & Exterior Coating Project Has Begun!
July 27, 2022
Last week, Virginia Masonry Restoration began preparing mock-ups to provide standards of work for cleaning, repairs, and coating application at Monumental Church. Different products may be needed depending on the subsurface material (stucco vs stone) and if it is general soiling, efflorescence, or biological growth being removed. The mock-ups will then be allowed to dry for a minimum of five days and then a conservator will assess the final color and any potential problems. Once an application(s) is approved, we will begin scaffolding the structure in sections as we work to clean, repair, and recoat the entire building with Keim.
Here are photos and videos from the first day!
Keep following along for more updates on each step of the process.
THANK YOU to all who have donated to make these critical updates to Monumental Church happen. We still need support! Please consider a contribution to Historic Richmond.