White Hall Historic Site

In late January 2020, a powerful storm moved through central Kentucky and significantly damaged the White Hall Historic Site (owned and managed by Eastern Kentucky University). Brown + Kubican Engineers were contacted as a trusted “first-responder” and went to the site the next day to evaluate and advise on structural damage to the house and outbuildings.

K. Norman Berry Associates Architects is proud to have been asked to be part of the team of experts. We were on site in 48 hours to advise on a course of action, focusing on maintaining the historic detailing and integrity of a building this age. In tandem with B+K, our team of architects quickly developed a bid package for repairs and restoration to this historic structure site that was originally built in 1798 with additions in the late 1860’s that encompass the house and grounds.

The primary focus of work has been reconstruction and replacement of the wood roof structure, which had been blown off entirely during the storm, and its associated eaves, box gutters, wood brackets, copper roof system, and masonry wall repairs on most of the South wing of the building. Due to the roof damage, water had entered the building as well, damaging some plaster ceilings and walls. Elsewhere on the grounds, the wind had taken down many trees, damaging the wood cedar shake roof on the original “Icehouse” and limestone “Carriage Steps”, both of which are being repaired entirely. The wind was also significant enough to push a small wood structure, the “Smokehouse”, off its stone footing.

KNBA’s extensive experience with historic architecture allowed our staff to address the wide-ranging specialty items requiring repair and assist in gathering a comprehensive list of subcontractors suited for this type of work. Among those specialties were Structural wood framing, copper roofing, wood roofing, brick and stone repairs and tuckpointing, painting, plaster work and site work.

DeanBuilds Inc. is acting as the General Contractor, teamed with many skilled subcontractors particularly suited for the specialty work involved, such as Gilpin Masonry, ABR Roofing, David Duggins Plaster, and Nomi Design for reproduction of damaged decorative wood eave brackets with a CNC machine.

A large part of our initial engagement was to immerse ourselves in learning about the history of White Hall. The site and home were first established in 1798 by Green Clay, father of abolitionist Cassius Clay, a significant Kentucky character. The property remained in the Clay family until donated to the Commonwealth of Kentucky in 1968, which rehabilitated it and created a place for tourism and education through the state parks system.

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