Originally constructed in 1899, the Van Horne Barn is built on a solid stone foundation featuring two stately silos. As with many of our masonry contracts in New Brunswick, Smith Masonry partnered with Brian Frost Masonry (who was awarded the contract) to complete the work on the Van Horne Barn. Work began on the stone foundation in November 2017. We began by removing all the loose stone and mortar in the joints.
Section by section we repaired and repointed while completely rebuilding areas that were particularly unstable. Some of the most interesting and rewarding parts of this job were rebuilding original details that had deteriorated or been removed throughout the building's history. This included two stone wells, decorative stone pillars and a rebuilt stone door jam completed using stone that our team collected entirely from Ministers Island to match the rest of the foundation. Each stone, some weighing in excess of 200 lbs, was split using plugs and feathers and precisely trimmed with carbide hand tools to ensure a perfect fit.
This foundation required extensive attention to detail to ensure historical accuracy (mortar types & colours, hand-cutting stone) as well as a knowledge of modern stabilizing techniques including incorporation of stainless steel reinforcing to ensure the longevity of this historic landmark well into the future. Our work on Ministers Island is ongoing. To read more about the history of the Van Horne Barn and other restoration projects taking place on Ministers Island, please visit their website. https://www.ministersisland.net/