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Beginning May 3, a crew from the National Park Service's Historic Preservation Training Center (HPTC) in Frederick, Maryland, was to conduct masonry preservation work at the Sinking Spring site and Plaza Basin at the Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historical Park in Hodgenville. The work is expected to take five to six weeks. Although the masons will try to keep work sites open to the public, the stairs leading to the Sinking Springs will be closed when work begins there.
Masons trained in historic preservation work will focus on three limestone masonry features that were originally built by the U.S. War Department in 1929: 11 steps and 50 linear feet of walls at the Sinking Springs site; the Plaza Wall; and the Stone Stairs connecting the parking area with the Memorial Plaza.
Work under this project agreement with the HPTC consist of documentation, recording character defining features, dismantling and rebuilding of selected wall sections, replacement or repair of individual stone units, selective repointing of missing or failed mortar joints, repair of the railing system, and cleaning.
The HPTC was founded in 1977 to meet the growing demand for craft skills development for NPS employees tasked with preserving the thousands of historic structures within the National Park System. Selected trainees complete a three-year program where they learn preservation philosophy, building crafts, building technology, and project management skills. HPTC crews participate in historic preservation projects throughout the National Park System such as Hurricane Katrina-damaged Fort Massachusetts located at Gulf Islands National Seashore and the Boca Chita Lighthouse at Biscayne National Park.
On Junior Ranger Day, May 14, the HPTC will set up a booth near the Visitor Center to demonstrate their work and to provide information about their program. For more information about Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historical Park call 270-358-3137 or visit the park's website at www.nps.