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Olmsted Terrace Stone Preservation

To properly restore the Olmsted Terrace, a six-phased project is underway by the Architect of the Capitol (AOC) to repair the masonry at the terrace walls.

During the last 120 years, there has been little maintenance performed on the stone and conditions of the terrace have deteriorated. A recent materials condition survey found that the marble and granite is stained and damaged and requires maintenance and repairs. Repairs include deconstructing and rebuilding some of the walls, repointing, patching holes, cleaning the stone, and trimming and removing trees and bushes along the terrace walls.

Current Work: Phase 3a

The stone cleaning at the west central terrace's mid-level is scheduled for completion fall 2016. This work is being performed in preparation of the Presidential Inauguration, as it serves as a backdrop to the event. The work includes removing copper stains from the wall area up through the balustrade using a poultice. The poultice is a combination of a very absorbent medium (it must be more absorbent than the stone) mixed with a chemical, which is selected in accordance with the type of stain to be removed, in this case copper. The concept is to re-absorb the stain out of the stone. Viewers of the Inauguration will notice, rather, they will not notice anything unusual about the marble backdrop.

All Project Phases

The project will occur between April and October of each year through 2019. Work includes the assembly of scaffolding, and cranes will be present at times to remove heavy stones. During each phase, the walls, pedestal, steps and curb will be dismantled, repaired and reinstalled by AOC masons.

Graphic of all phases for this project.