Put-in-Bay, Ohio – The National Park Service’s only international peace memorial, located on South Bass Island, will undergo $1.86 million in cleaning and repairs this summer. The 352-foot tall Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial will be inaccessible this summer while workers clean and re-point the exterior of the granite column, and replace broken tile in the interior of the memorial simultaneously.
“It is unfortunate but unavoidable that the column will be inaccessible to the public in 2017,” said Superintendent Barbara Fearon, “this is another phase of repairs that is critical to the longevity of the memorial column. Thanks to the foresight and ingenuity of engineers working on prior projects, this work can be completed in one construction season versus two as they will be using swing stages rather than building scaffolding.”
The park grounds and visitor center opens Saturday, May 20, for the season and Superintendent Fearon said Perry’s Victory will continue to host a number of events — including the new and free Put-in-Bay Music Festival on June 10 — and provide a daily series of Ranger programs for children and adults. “Our staff is working hard to develop a new menu of programs for this summer,” Superintendent Fearon said. “Of course we will offer programs around the War of 1812 and the Battle of Lake Erie but we are also focusing on topics that have been overlooked in the past. We are very excited for the park to open so we can share this new programming.”
Work on the column, the third tallest memorial in the National Park Service, will begin soon. Coon Restoration from Louisville, Ohio will be cleaning and re-pointing the exterior of the column. Rodney Karr, Facilities Manager at Perry’s Victory, said $1,826,500 will go toward the exterior maintenance and another $42,513 will cover the costs of the interior tile work. Karr said PPW Builders from Cleveland will do the tile work. The exterior work will be from ground level to the penthouse roof, he said.
Extensive testing revealed the flexible silicone used when the memorial was last repointed in the early 1980’s trapped moisture causing a hydrophobic layer that caused the calcium bicarbonate deposits on the exterior, he added. These deposits or stains, will be cleaned during the work of this project. A 12-month study on the silicone revealed going back to a traditional mortared joint was best for the longevity of the column. All Coon Restoration employees will be tested and certified by the project engineer in order to properly remove the silicone and clean the exterior before re-pointing the granite joint lines with mortar. The exterior work is scheduled for completion in early December.
The interior tile project will replace broken or missing tiles in the stairway leading to and from the elevator and will begin about the same time as the exterior work. This work is expected to take about 4 to 6 weeks to complete and will use tile that matches the existing tiles. Entrance fees — funds collected for riding the elevator to the observation deck — will pay for the tile work.
Work started last fall on four other buildings at the park and will be completed in early May. The visitor center had 23 windows replaced as well as new trim and paint. The administration building received a new roof, windows, and doors. The ranger operation center has new exterior siding, windows, doors, and paint. And the maintenance building is being re-sided. The $394,000 deferred maintenance project puts these facilities except for one in excellent condition, Karr added.
About Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial. The park was established to honor those who fought and died in the Battle of Lake Erie during the War of 1812 and to celebrate the long-lasting peace between the United States, Great Britain, and Canada. The Memorial, a Doric column, rising 352 feet over Lake Erie is situated 5 miles from the longest undefended border in the world. For more information about Perry’s Victory visit www.nps.gov/pevi, Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial on Facebook, Twitter @PerrysVIPM, instagram @perrysvictorynps, or call 419-285-2184.