150 Year Old Texas Gristmill Gets Timely Structural Repair
Barnard’s Mill has stood as the historical centerpiece of Glen Rose, Texas for over 150 years. The building is situated along the banks of the Paluxy river and has served as a gristmill, medical clinic, and hospital. Currently, the building is the headquarters of the Somervell History Foundation.
Barnard’s Mill started as a water-powered gristmill in 1860 then to a steam-powered burr mill. It was sold for $10 and turned into a cotton gin in 1895, a health spa with mineral waters in 1943, a hospital and clinic in 1949, and today a Historical Mill and Art Museum. The building was originally constructed of limestone which is readily available and commonly used in construction in this region of Texas.
A major trip hazard appeared along the sidewalks and curbing, of the Linglestown, PA Weis Market Grocery store.
Built above a culvert, the sidewalks on both sides of the store entrance, including a safety railing, had settled causing a substantial safety-related tripping hazard to the public and customers alike.
A historic 4-year drought followed by a year of heavier than average rainfall for the area caused the soil underneath the structure to become unstable, shrinking then expanding rapidly after heavy rainfalls. Over the past 2 years, active floor and wall shifting caused a growing concern for the Somervell History Foundation as structural cracks and sinking floors threatened the integrity of the building, placing unneeded stress on the aging, 16-inch limestone walls of the mill.
Preserving the mill is the Somervell History Foundation’s primary mission and any repair solution could not do anything that would alter the historical significance of the building.
The challenge was to find the right solution to restore the century and a half old building knowing that there was no grade beam or structural steel in the walls and floors that is typical in today’s modern construction methods but not a common practice in the mid 1800s.
After researching repair alternatives for preserving the historic mill, Somervell Foundation committee members chose URETEK ICR’s unique, non-intrusive polymer injection technology to stabilize and raise the historic structure. URETEK’s concrete raising and soil stabilization solution, known as The URETEK Method® consist of drilling small, 5/8″ (penny-sized) holes through the floor and injecting a high-density, expanding polymer beneath the foundation and underneath the limestone walls to achieve the following results:
- Raise, level, and stabilize interior floor
- Densify weak soil strata directly beneath or at depth
- Re-compact eroded pockets beneath the foundation
- Fill voids created by washouts and drought
URETEK’s repair process is non-intrusive and precise, as a URETEK operator has exceptional control over the polymer injection process which is a critical component in restoring older buildings. The URETEK crews work surgically, stabilizing and leveling areas on the mill floor during the floor lift. The floors, being over 100 years old, required an experienced URETEK crew because the foundation did not have any structural steel installed during the original foundation construction.
Before the injection process began, crews performed initial exploratory drilling and realized there was no grade beam underneath the structure. With this in mind, URETEK crews took additional steps to stabilize the approximately 16 inch limestone constructed walls utilizing URETEK’s Deep Injection® Process.
This is a patented process for densifying the soil and improving the soil bearing capacity with the objective being stabilizing the exterior walls so that the Somervell Historical Society could make any cosmetic improvements and repairs necessary inside the structure.
Restored and Ready for Anniversary
URETEK crews stabilized the floor and limestone walls in less than a day. Post injection clean up required vacuuming the areas around the treated area along with gluing the antique wooden floor tiles back to their original position. After URETEK crews completed the project, cosmetic repairs and touch up could begin immediately.
Understanding the historical value and heritage Barnard’s Mill represents this region of Texas, URETEK’s modern solution completed the floor repair just in time for an anniversary event. URETEK was chosen to stabilize Barnard’s Mill because the solution was:
- Cost effective and timely
- Long lasting solution
- Non-intrusive to the original look of the structure
The surgical precision and control URETEK solutions provided an ideal solution to Barnard’s Mill. In addition, URETEK has completed numerous historical restoration projects nationwide where preservation of the original a structural is top priority.
For more information about Barnard’s Mill and Art Museum, check out their website.