Call for Presenters – “Mesa to Mountain: Preservation in the American West”

August 26, 2016
Artwork by Sandy Brunvand

Artwork by Sandy Brunvand

The Rocky Mountain Chapter of the Association for Preservation Technology International (APT) invites interested parties to submit proposals for presentations to be considered for the symposium, “Mesa to Mountain: Preservation in the American West”, taking place March 23-25, 2017, in Salt Lake City, Utah.

The central theme of the symposium is “western sites, materials and conditions”. The theme will highlight the regional contexts that are unique to the American West, namely the climatological, geological, and historical aspects that shape the cultural resources and conservation approaches in this region.

The two-day symposium will include paper sessions, tours, and a keynote address. Paper sessions will consist of three, 30-minute presentations followed by 20 minutes of Q&A and discussion.

Potential Topics of Interest

  • Seismic challenges: changing requirements, novel approaches and lessons learned
  • Regional approaches to controlling deterioration mechanisms: moisture, temperature fluctuation, wind, salts, pollution
  • Local materials and methods of construction: earthen architecture, logs and timbers, stone, mortars
  • Mining, industry, ranching and transportation or farming heritage
  • Cultural site stewardship: religious, government, private, traditional cultural properties
Submittal Requirements
  • Please submit abstracts by email with the subject line, “Proposal – Mesa to Mountain 2017”
  • Along with the Abstract, please provide the following in a MSWord.doc or pdf file as an attachment:
    > Name and contact information
    > Title of presentation
    > Abstract, under 400 words
    > Biographical statement, under 200 words
  • Submit proposals to: Kristen Olson,
  • Submittals deadline: Friday, September 9, 2016
  • Notification of acceptance of abstracts will be made by Friday, October 21, 2016. Confirmation of speaker acceptance will be required by Friday, November 18, 2016.
  • Presenters will receive a discounted conference registration.

For more information, please contact: Kent Diebolt,, or Don Hartley,

For More Information, go to:


Western Chapter:
Rocky Mountain Chapter:
Northwest Chapter:
Click here to download the call for presenters in pdf format.

Restoring a Cross High Above Manhattan, Stone by Stone – The New York Times

August 22, 2016

In addition to repairing the outside of the Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church, workers are reconstructing its pinnacle: a 10-foot-tall Celtic cross.

Four years ago, chunks of the church’s 141-year-old brownstone facade fell onto the roof of the adjoining Henri Bendel store. The architectural firm Ford3, the structural engineering firm Robert Silman Associates and the investigation and testing firm Vertical Access, which sends inspectors up on ropes and boatswain’s chairs, took a close look.

Their conclusion was that it was time for a full-scale restoration of the brownstone on the north tower, next to Bendel, and on the south clock tower, which is topped by the Celtic cross that symbolically conjures the church’s Scottish heritage. The project includes cleaning, restoring and releading the clear exterior windows.

Source: Restoring a Cross High Above Manhattan, Stone by Stone – The New York Times

The Quarterly – Summer 2016

July 29, 2016

Check out our Summer 2016 Quarterly newsletter


Project Highlight: 75 Livingston Street

July 20, 2016

Situated on a corner in downtown Brooklyn within the New York City designated Borough Hall Skyscraper Historic District, 75 Livingston Street is a 32-story steel-framed, masonry-clad residential building designed by architect Abraham J. Simberg.  It was completed in 1928 and was originally called the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce Building.

Vertical Access was retained by FS Project Management to perform a hands-on investigation of the four exterior masonry façades from grade to the top of the building at the penthouse level to assist Howard L. Zimmerman Architects (HLZA) with the Façade Inspection Safety Program (Local Law 11) inspection of the building and with preparation of repair recommendations and documents. Vertical Access had previously performed the Cycle 5 Local Law inspection of 75 Livingston Street in 1999. New York City’s Facade Inspection Safety Program, like other city-mandated facade inspection ordinances and periodic inspections carried out by building owners on their own initiative, is an important means of maintaining our built environment.

At the top of this 430-foot pre-war skyscraper is a sheet metal-clad pyramidal roof and cupola. Numerous setbacks on the south and east facades are exceptional features, with the parapet at each setback distinguished by ornamental terra cotta, projecting finials, and decorative spandrels.

The lower three floors on the Livingston Street (south) and Court Street (east) façades have limestone masonry at the columns and door and window surrounds, with cast iron spandrel panels and steel windows.  Above the third floor, the exterior is clad in brick and terra cotta. The north and west façades are primarily brick with terra cotta ornament at the top of the building.

VA used industrial rope access for the condition assessment and documented representative and notable conditions observed by means of still photographs hyperlinked to annotated AutoCAD drawings, with quantities provided for each prioritized condition. Industrial rope access allowed four technicians to complete the comprehensive inspection of this monumental building in a matter of days, whereas other means of access would surely have taken weeks or even longer.

Happy 100th Birthday, National Park Service!

July 15, 2016

2016 is a great time to visit a national park and be part of the National Park Service Centennial celebration.  August 25th is its official birthday, and engaging events are happening yearlong.  The NPS system includes 412 cultural sites and parks including monuments, parkways, battlefields, cemeteries, and recreation areas (full list in the FAQ here) .

Vertical Access is proud of our contributions to the preservation of these National Park Service managed landmarks!

Cape Hatteras Lighthouse
Fire Island Lighthouse
General Grant National Memorial
Independence Hall
Lincoln Memorial
The Gateway Arch
The Easton Building / 15 State Street


Can you identify this building? – Series No. 8

July 14, 2016

Test your knowledge of historic and iconic buildings in the U.S. (and beyond!) in this series of “guess the building” blog posts.

Series No. 8:

This Romanesque Revival academic building was completed in 1893, by the Chicago firm of Patton & Fisher. It contrasts with the many (famous) modernist buildings nearby. Where is it?

Main 1

Main 2

Answer: Illinois Institute of Technology, Main Building, Chicago, Illinois. The Main Building was one of the earliest buildings constructed for the Armour Institute, a precursor to the Illinois Institute of Technology. It contrasts with the many nearby Modernist buildings by Mies van der Rohe. The entire main campus, including the Main Building, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.


Don’t miss another architectural challenge: subscribe to our blog by signing up with your email address in the sidebar. Click here to see all of the posts in this series.

Photos by Vertical Access.

Celebrating 50 Years of Historic Ithaca

July 11, 2016

June 20th marked the 50th anniversary of the incorporation of Historic Ithaca, one of the oldest nonprofits in New York State dedicated to historic preservation. Members of the Vertical Access team have been involved with HI in various capacities for nearly 20 years, as board members, staff, and volunteers.

Kristen Olson served as HI’s Preservation Service Coordinator before joining Vertical Access. She has been working as a volunteer on the organization’s 50th Anniversary activities, including HI’s participation in the annual Ithaca Festival Parade in June:

Kristen parade

Kristen Olson carries a sign promoting Historic Ithaca in the annual Ithaca Festival Parade

Kent Diebolt served on HI’s board of directors from 1997 to 2000. During his tenure as President from 1998 to 1999, Historic Ithaca purchased and stabilized the State Theatre, saving it from near-certain destruction.

On June 20th, HI supporters gathered at the theater to hear Alternate Acting Mayor and city Alderperson Seph Murtagh read the City of Ithaca proclamation declaring Historic Ithaca Day, honoring the organization’s long history advocating for and protecting historic places.

From the lobby steps in the restored vaudeville-era theater, Kent and other former board members spoke about the organization’s work over the past 50 years. As a visual aid, Kent brought along an enlarged copy of the notice of condemnation that was placed on the theater in 1998, demonstrating just how close it came to demolition.

Kent at state

Kent Diebolt speaks at Historic Ithaca’s 50th Anniversary celebration



Here’s to the next 50 years for Historic Ithaca!

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