Protecting 19th Century History With 21st Century Innovation

For an extensive restoration project in Santa Clarita CA, metal roofing from Isaiah Industries provides solutions for the community and for the contractor.

 

Overview

Saving the historical buildings of Heritage Junction from weather damage was crucial to the Santa Clarita Valley Historical Society. This collection in Santa Clarita, California, dates from 1878 to 1927 and now serves as a museum open to the public. All of the roofs on the property were old wood shake, a prime target for wildfires.

 

Outcome

Replacing their run-down roofs with new long-term KasselWood steel shingles significantly increased the lifespan of five historical buildings, giving future generations a chance to visit the area and learn about the past. Protection from fire, strong winds, and weather damage allows this property to remain open.

 

Impact

Maintaining the look and style of the existing roofs while providing the structure and durability of metal roofing improved the historical buildings in Heritage Junction. The color of the roofing was custom matched to the old roofing, keeping the appearance as close as possible.

 

Benefits

  • Preservation of history
  • Exact color-matched appearance
  • Protection from wildfires

 

Heritage Junction is an assortment of historic buildings from across California, carefully maintained in Santa Clarita, California, to period-correct standards. The Santa Clarita Valley Historical Society assembled this collection that now includes a train station, a schoolhouse, a 1927 home with a complete interior, a chapel, and houses from around California. Each of these buildings faces a high risk of damage from rain, wind, insects, and especially fire. The Santa Clarita Valley is a volatile fire area, where wildfire quickly spreads, further assisted by the old, dry wood shake roofs. To protect and preserve these historical buildings, the SCV Historical Society wanted lightweight, durable, and fire-resistant roofing.

 

One day, Laurene Weste, Director at Large of the SCV Historical Society, took a small group of city officials and the city manager to Heritage Junction. She led everyone through each building, pointing out the flaws and areas in need of urgent repair. In one house, she had everyone climb into the attic and look up to the roof. When the city manager made it up, he was surprised to see right through the old wood roof- straight to blue California sky! Having all he needed to see and understand, plans for restoration began soon after.

 

However, the restoration process couldn’t begin right away. Restoring these historic buildings required a careful process starting from the ground up. First, every building was covered with a tent and fumigated for termites. Termites were slowly eating away at the floors, so after the fumigation, the old subfloors were replaced. Second, the contents of the buildings were covered and wrapped to protect them from dust and debris.

 

Finally, the installation began in earnest. The contractor for this project, Howard and Son, Inc. of Corona, CA, had some work to do. They stripped the roofs down to their frames, repaired the rafters, and reinforced the substructures to get the old buildings ready to support their new metal roofs.

 

The new roofs needed to fulfill several requirements, but maintaining the historical appearance was critical to the success of the project. The new shingle choice for this project, KasselWood Steel Shake, already matched the existing roof style but not color. So, Kassel & Irons, along with the SCV Historical Society and Dustyn Howard of Howard and Sons, Inc., created a custom color. This color needed to match the old roof perfectly, so Dustyn took samples of the old shake and sent them in for analysis. Kassel & Irons color-matched them with a new long-lasting ThermoBond PVDF powder coat. Along with these custom shingles, Howard and Sons, Inc. built a matching set of gutters and trim.

 

After getting the color right, the new roof was ready to be installed. Working on historical buildings posed a unique set of problems for Howard and Sons, Inc. as most of the old buildings lacked electricity, so generators provided power. Trash disposal was difficult, too, with stricter requirements for cleaning up leftover debris. Howard and Sons, Inc. took extra care to protect the existing roof’s substructure, and for some buildings, they wrapped the contents of the interior to protect from dust and debris. When work started on Ramona Chapel, the old steeple was barely attached to the roof, so they removed it and re-roofed it from the ground, then lifted it back into place.

 

Howard and Sons, Inc. re-roofed the Ramona Chapel, the Callahan Schoolhouse, the Pardee House, the Kingsburry House, and the Edison House. Ramona Chapel was built in the 1920s for Robert E. Callahan’s Mission Village, cobbled together from parts and pieces of old churches [1]. Constructed in 1927, the Callahan Schoolhouse was also built for the Mission Village tourist attraction and later converted to a schoolhouse in the 1960s [2]. Pardee House was built back in 1890 and got its name from Ed Pardee, the constable who arrived in 1893 [3]. Featured in several movies, Pardee House was moved to Heritage Junction in 1992 [3]. The Kingsburry House, erected in 1878, is the oldest building in Heritage Junction, in the Colonial Revival style [4]. Constructed in 1919, the Edison House (named after the Southern California Edison Company) remains in pristine shape [5].

 

Considering metal roofing for this project required a paradigm shift for the SCV Historical Society. Weste specifically had her doubts, “I think of an old barn when I think of metal roofing.” Other members worried about potential durability, excessive weight on the old structures, and resistance to fire. Wildfires are a devastating problem for much of California, and protecting old buildings with aging construction is challenging. Changing long-held opinions can be tough, but the SCV Historical Society was willing to give metal roofing a chance.

 

But first, the Historical Society needed confidence in Kassel & Irons. So, in the middle of a meeting, Weste picked up a sample shingle, threw it on the ground, and stomped on it repeatedly with her cowboy boots. The shingle held up exceptionally well, and her test proved its strength to every board member in the room. After seeing the quality of KasselWood firsthand, Weste changed her mind, “I highly respect metal roofing’s durability and longevity.”

 

The installation went smoothly, with the end product very well-received. Weste complimented Howard, “Dustyn is a brilliant installer, the way he made the shingles fit the roof so well is amazing!” She also praised Kassel & Irons, “they have been terrific to work with, and we are continuing to work with them on restoring more buildings.”

 

After installation, the new KasselWood roofs are protecting Heritage Junction from the elements now more than ever. The steel shingles will provide shelter from weather and fire for years to come. The SCV Historical Society has been so pleased with their performance; they committed to installing metal roofing on all of the buildings in the park. Up next for re-roofing are the Newhall Ranch House and Saugus Train Station.

 

Most people touring the park don’t notice a difference between the style of the old roof and the brand-new metal one. Weste says when asked for her opinion, “Just look at the before-and-after pictures, this roof speaks for itself!” Weste is a passionate advocate for preserving history, but her worries about damage to Heritage Junction are long gone.

 

I sleep well at night, knowing the buildings aren’t leaking. If I were going to build my own house, I would use your product, especially because of the fire resistance."

-Laurene Weste, Director at Large, SCV Historical Society

 

[1] Santa Clarita Valley Historical Society. Ramona Chapel

[2] Santa Clarita Valley Historical Society. Callahan 

[3] Santa Clarita Valley Historical Society. Pardee House

[4] Santa Clarita Valley Historical Society. Kingsburry House

[5] Santa Clarita Valley Historical Society. Edison House

 

 

LOCATION

24107 Newhall Ave, Santa Clarita, CA

 

BUILDING OWNER

Santa Clarita Valley Historical Society

 

CONTRACTOR

Howard and Sons, Inc.

 

MANUFACTURER

Isaiah Industries Inc

 

DATE COMPLETED

2019

©2020 Metal Construction Association. All Rights Reserved.