During the last month, the Historic Preservation Team
for the southeast region of the National Parks has been working at Fort Frederica. The foundations of houses and the fort ruins are almost 300 years old and require periodic work. The team at Fort Frederica is part of the Masonry Team.
The Historic Preservation Team that worked at Fort Frederica has three members: Travis, Isaac, and Jessica. All of them are talented masons with a long history of preservation work. They came and evaluated what was needed, scheduled a work time, and gathered the materials they needed.
The team is dedicated to preserving the structures using period materials and techniques. Restoring the ruins at Fort Frederica meant they had to make tabby. Tabby is a coastal concrete, made out of materials available to the colonists in 1736. Oyster shells were burned into a lime powder and mixed with sand, water, and whole
shells forming a type of concrete. Once mixed, these materials were poured into wooden forms in courses 12 to 18 inches deep. After hardening, the process was repeated.
The Historic Preservation Team made their tabby in the traditional way. They burned the oyster shells into lime powder and mixed it with sand and water. They didn’t use whole shells because they just wanted a thin layer to spread onto the deteriorated areas of the tabby structures. So the places they repaired look more like they have a stucco covering than a tabby covering.
Travis and Isaac also replaced a support beam in the sally port of the barracks. The beam that was in there before was so rotted you could pull it out by the handful. Park maintenance had put in two jacks to hold the structure up. Now the new beam gives support and looks great. For the first time since we have been at Fort Frederica, we don’t have yellow caution tape or orange cones around the barracks.
While the Historic Preservation Team was working here, Larry Hobbs came out and wrote an article about them. Larry is the local journalist who covers everything that happens at Fort Frederica. You can read his article about it here.
We didn’t interact much with the team while they were here. But we can see the good work they did and know that the ruins at Fort Frederica are protected once again.