Glazing at the Gas Station
Gloucester, Virginia USA – May 2011
Many hands made light work during a week of intensive restoration work removing and replacing the panes of the Edge Hill Service Station’s largest windows.
Built on Main Street in 1930, Edge Hill’s location was not only central to Gloucester’s residents, but also to the Colonial Parkway, a well-traveled tourism route through Virginia. Service was cutting edge (offering fuel, refreshments, AND a ladies’ lounge), making the Edge Hill Service Station a staple in Gloucester’s economy and image.
The Texaco station was saved from redevelopment when it was purchased by The Fairfield Foundation, a local nonprofit archaeological organization, for use as a community preservation center. Once restored Edge Hill will provide a multi-purpose space to engage the public in archaeology and historic preservation.
Thane Harpole and Dave Brown, co-founders of The Fairfield Foundation provided instruction for window restoration. The hard-working team of seven quickly absorbed the best methods to get those old panes out and those new panes in.
Our group of volunteers contributed 210 hours of free labor, providing enough people power to remove all the old panes (with the exception of one, left in place as a testament to the building’s history and as an example of the building’s original construction) and replace most of them with new, more energy-efficient panes.
Everyone learned how to glaze, and each person initialed his or her new putty, proudly marking both the work they’d done and, for the time being, the end of their adventure in preservation.
Work days were enriched by a guided tour of Gloucester’s historic Main Street and a lecture on LEED standards for historic buildings. Volunteers also toured the Rosewell Plantation Ruins and participated in the regular Tuesday archaeology night, washing artifacts with local volunteer archaeologists. On Saturday, Meredith Poole treated the volunteers to a special behind-the-scenes tour of Colonial Williamsburg The group also enjoyed gathering at a local volunteer’s home for cookouts and swims, AND to celebrate Dave’s birthday and the final night of a successful week with a festive bottle of champagne.
Dave’s mom, who hosted a cookout AND volunteered at the site, said “I don’t think I have worked that hard and felt so good in a long while.”