Main Street landmark in urgent need of repair

by Kim Robins - Posted on Dec 29, 2010 - 04:50 PM

Photo: Water pooling on a flat roof has led to support damage that could potentially collapse the old Texaco service station on the corner of Rt. 17 and Rt. 14. The Fairfield Foundation is making an urgent plea for funds to replace the flat roof and shore up the building walls. Photo by Kim Robins.

Water pooling on a flat roof has led to support damage that could potentially collapse the old Texaco service station on the corner of Rt. 17 and Rt. 14. The Fairfield Foundation is making an urgent plea for funds to replace the flat roof and shore up the building walls. Photo by Kim Robins.

Fairfield Foundation directors knew it would be a long-term, expensive project to restore the deteriorating Edgehill service station they purchased in May, but they did not anticipate the need for immediate repairs. Now they have found a leaking roof has led to rotting sills and the danger of walls collapsing in on the Gloucester Main Street landmark.

"The gable roof can be repaired, but we need to replace the flat section of the roof," said Foundation co-director Thane Harpole during a tour of the building last week. "Water has been pooling on it, leading to rot and termites. And because it drips down inside the walls, the sills are gone at the bottom. A lot of the studs will be okay but, in a lot of ways, plaster and lath are holding the building up."

Replacing the flat roof was a priority in the restoration plans but a recent behind-the-walls inspection has revealed the immediacy of that work. "The building may look like a masonry structure from the outside, but it is actually a frame building with plastered walls," said Harpole’s co-director, David Brown. Brown estimated the roof replacement will cost $50,000 and the wall stabilization $15,000.

"Our goal is to raise $75,000 for these repairs, which should cover overruns and emergency costs, such as necessary shoring of the roof. These repairs will halt the deterioration of the building and provide us with the time necessary to fundraise for the remaining restoration work," said Brown, who estimated the total cost of the project, including property price and landscaping, at $1 million.