Excerpt from the Gaithersburg Patch:
On May 24, the Gaithersburg Historic District Commission presented a Historic Preservation Award to Hank Handler, Vice President of Oak Grove Restoration Company, recognizing the company’s efforts to restore the smokehouse at Summit Hall Farm at Bohrer Park. The award was given as part of Historic Preservation Month, an annual celebration of the nation’s historic resources, held each May.
The 12-by-12-foot smokehouse was built circa 1810 and is considered the oldest structure in the City. It was used to preserve meat in the days before refrigeration. The City acquired the Summit Hall property in 1982. A few years ago, City staff recognized that the smokehouse was under threat from water damage and that some of the logs had deteriorated. The Mayor and City Council appropriated funds for a restoration project, which started in June, 2016. Laytonsville-based Oak Grove Restoration, a historic builder that has worked on such high-profile structures as the Virginia State Capitol, President Lincoln’s Cottage and President James Madison’s Montpelier, was selected as the contractor.
Oak Grove’s restoration team stripped off the roof and daubing between the logs and lifted the structure onto a new stone foundation. They filled the gaps between the logs with a lime and concrete sand mixture. The ceiling joists and rafter poles also came from old wood salvaged from an outbuilding in Virginia, and the new wood for the gable siding, bargeboards and roof lath was purchased from a sawmill in Prince George’s County. The wood shingles are made of Western red cedar. One of Oak Grove’s master carpenters built the board and batten cypress door using traditional techniques.
The building sits at Bohrer Park at Summit Hall Farm, a historic Gaithersburg property that is now home to the City’s Water Park, Skate Park, Miniature Golf Course, rental pavilions and Activity Center. The smokehouse can be viewed from the exterior at any time and will be open during Montgomery Heritage Days, June 24 and 25, 2017.