Mathews Architecture

E. W. Grove Park Trolley Houses

Mathews Architecture was hired in 2017 to prepare a detailed historic conditions assessment of the Trolley Houses and Wall along with a detailed budget. That work included a recommendation for mortar testing so that an appropriate match could be planned for and specified for the restoration work. For this work, we took samples of the existing mortar and sent those to US Heritage Group in Chicago, who which provided the mortar match report and mix requirements.

We also spoke with the contractor and manufacturer of the metal roof tiles that were previously used when the restoration of the adjacent E.W. Grove Office building, today the home of PSABC, was undertaken. Rich Mathews did a top-to-bottom assessment of the Trolley Houses and Wall, photographing and detailing the extent of deteriorated wood framing and missing mortar.

He removed the galvanized metal end caps on the exposed rafter tails beam ends and discovered that, in many cases, the metal was not supported by any wood behind. There was extensive rot and water and insect damage to the ends. It was determined that about 80% of the mortar in the stonework was either missing or separating from the stone.

We prepared drawings to illustrate the extent of damage and provided recommendations for restoration. That documentation was sent to Aiken Cost Consultants, which provided us with a budget for the construction work that we provided to the City of Asheville.

Mathews Architecture was then hired by the City to prepare construction documents and preservation specifications as second phase of work. Working on this project for the firm were Jane Mathews, FAIA, LEED AP BD+C, Project Architect (administration, design, specifications); Rich Mathews (assessment, historic detailing and specifications, construction administration); Shane Elliott, Associate AIA, LEED AP (construction document production, construction administration); and Adam Penny (field documentation).

The project was competitively bid and the firm of Midwest Maintenance, Inc. was hired to perform the restoration work. That work included repairing all damaged wood with new wood or approved wood consolidants; replacing damaged metal roofing with matching roofing tiles provided by the Preservation Society; fabricating and installing missing or damaged metal roof pieces, including caps and rake edge trim; painting all wood; removing and replacing all damaged mortar; and cleaning the stonework.

Our firm provided Construction Administration services to the City of Asheville, and the restoration work was completed as of January, 2019.
A sunny afternoon view of the E. W. Grove Park stone wall, pillars and North Trolley House.
East elevation of the North Trolley House.
The north end of the South Trolley House.
View of the North Stone Pillar showing the missing mortar, poorly applied patches and years of soot and algae that built up.
One corner of the North Trolley House, showing the loose stones and separating mortar joints.
A close-up view of the type of damage suffered by ends of the transverse beams in the Trolley Houses.
The galvanized caps that covered the beam ends concealed the insect damage that occurred over time.
Close-up of the metal roof shingles, showing the dings and dents caused by fly balls from the nearby park.
The Stone Wall following cleaning and mortar repointing
The North Pillar, following complete cleaning and repointing of the beaded mortar joints
The North Trolley House following the restoration
Detail view showing the repaired structural beams and copper end caps.