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Records Relating To
National Zoological Park Ownership
Of The Land

Document Date Contents Notes Source
Mid to Late 1900's
Report by T.E. Snyder on Condition of Holt House 6/7/1954 'Basement: In boiler room, 2x4 timbers supporting stairs and coal bin have been badly damaged by termites. There are shelter tubes of termites on the brick front wall near the window, containing live termites. Probably the termites are also coming up through the mortar between the bricks. - First Floor; Mr. Walker's room has had termite damage to the floor, which is now covered with linoleum, to the baseboard near the mantelpiece, and to the mantelpiece. The front office has damage tot he flooring near the door and to the window frame nearest to the door. The entrance hall has termite damage to the window frame on the right side of the hall as you enter. - Second Floor; In the big room, or library, the baseboard and window frame have been damaged by termites, and flights have occurred in this room. - So far as can be observed, there is no structural weakening of the building due to termites.' Report on termite infestation at Holt House. National Zoological Park Administrative File on Holt House
Letter to Dr. Mann, Director of NZP From Archie G. Hutson Director of Buildings and Grounds 8/27/1954 'In regard to the estimate for proposed administration building - estimated cost $245,000' Zoo Park considered a new administration building, since repairs to Holt House seemed too costly and building was no longer able to fulfill this function. National Zoological Park Administrative Files on the Holt House
Capital Outlay Projects for Fiscal Year 1957 4/28/1955 'Administration Building-Estimated Cost of Construction Including Plans and equipment: $245,000 as per attached estimate made by Department of Buildings and Grounds. - The building now in use was built about 1805 and shortly after its acquisition by the government, about 55 years ago, it was somewhat rehabilitated; however, it is set in the ground so that the first floor windows are practically level with the ground surface with the result that moisture comes through the thick stone walls and the first floor of the building is so damp that books and other materials suffer damage. This damp condition is very bad for the health of employees who work in the building. Also, termites are doing damage to the woodwork of the building and sometimes to books and other articles, but the construction of the building is such that they cannot be kept out. The second floor is sagging and there is much other serious deterioration....The subject of putting the old Zoo building into shape or obtaining a new building is one that has arisen on numerous occasions. The report of the Acting Manager of the National Zoological Park for the Fiscal Year 1891 contains the following paragraph: 'In the mean time arrangements were made to repair the Old Holt mansion, situated upon the left bank of the creek, in such a manner as to fit it for occupation as an office for the park. The old building was found to require much more extensive repairs than were anticipated. It is a long, low structure, built rather for coolness and country retirement than for purposes of business activity; and the walls, although thick, were found to be cracked and crumbling, and the foundations to be highly insecure. Before anything else could be done several of the walls had to be replaced and new foundations laid. This consumed the greater part of the appropriation and it was only possible to finish two rooms to be occupied as an office... - In his Report for the Fiscal Year 1901 the Superintendent of the National Zoological Park wrote; - 'The old building which the office of the park is placed has been, up to the present time, in a very ruinous state. In order to restore it to something like its pristine condition, the entrance hall and large room connecting with it were finished with a brick floor and suitable windows, the entrance hall on the second floor repaired, one of the chimneys entirely rebuilt, and an extra flue constructed. Several bookcases were built in the library room, furniture was purchased, and several small alterations made to the outside of the building...' continued in following record National Zoological Park Administrative File on Holt House
Capital Outlay Projects for Fiscal Year 1957 4/28/1955 'The total cost of this work was $2,200. - With the exception of some minor repair work that was done during the depression period with emergency relief labor and occasional repairing of plaster and painting, the building has had no further major repair work. The structure of the building is such that the first floor cannot be made healthful, presentable, or suitable for human occupancy or keeping of materials in it that can be harmed by dampness or termites.' Reports the condition of Holt House in 1955 and cites former reports of 1891 and 1901 regarding the condition of the House. National Zoological Park Administrative File on Holt House
Notes on conversation with William Chester 8/16/1957 'Mr. Chester is now 78 years old. He came to the NZP in 1896 to work on the grounds crew for a private contractor, grading the road down by the duck pond and lion house hill. At that time there were three animal buildings in the Park, the old elephant house, the antelope house and the lion house. There were 30 people employed, 11 of whom were keepers. - Mr. Chester has many memories of Secretary Langley...Mr. Chester started on the grounds force, but inasmuch as he was a blacksmith by trade, he was transferred to the shop, where he was paid 75 cents a day. He worked on the renovation of the Administration Building, working under a contractor named Cleaveland. At that time there were 6-inch planks on the second floor, all floors had to be replaced. The fireplace and mantel in the big room were remodeled. The stucco on the outside had also to be replaced in spots. Frank Lowe's uncle was a carpenter who did some of the work. Lowe laid the floors and Cleaveland put in the wainscoting.' Personal account of laborer doing work on the Holt House. His story is consistent with the work done in 1896- the wainscoting and the floors laid. SIA RU 365 Box 36 Folder 9 Theodore Reed's History Files
Letter to A.F. Michaels From Dr. Kellogg 3/22/1960 'At Dr. Reed's invitation I inspected the administrative office building at the National Zoological Park and although this area is not under my supervision I respectfully offer the following comments for your consideration. - 1. The attached copy of the report of the District of Columbia Department of Buildings and Grounds dated May 6, 1957 indicates extensive termite damage throughout the building. Since the time of the report no action has been taken to correct these conditions and additional serious damage has resulted. - 2. The very poor condition of the roof and flashings has allowed water to leak through to the plastered ceilings with the result that the large sections of plaster are loose and falling without warning. This is a dangerous condition for occupants of the rooms. - 3. The most recent termite damage occurred in Dr. Reeds office where a section of the flooring in front of the fireplace was completely eaten away. - 4. The widely prevalent damage to trim, door frames, window frames, paneling, baseboards, railings, etc. although not potentially dangerous is certainly unsightly and degrading in an area used for administrative offices. The openings made for the inspections conducted in 1957 have been left untouched and add to the decrepit and 'haunted house' appearance of the interior of the building. Such hazardous and deplorable conditions would not be tolerated in any of the Smithsonian Institution buildings and the following recommendations are submitted in the interest of safety and good management. - a. Move the administrative offices to other quarters. If necessary utilize space in several of the existing buildings temporarily. - b. Initiate an emergency program for construction of an administration building preferably located close to the center of the Zoo complex. The estimate of $60,000 for a restoration of the Holt Mansion would be better utilized for construction of a new building designed to accommodate the administrative offices properly.' Refers to 1957 report. No action had been taken regarding the needs of the building. National Zoological Park Administrative Files on Holt House
Memorandum regarding the Physical Deterioration of the 'so-called Office Building' From T. Reed 1/24/1961 'This memorandum is being written for two reasons- - 1. To call your attention once again to the unsafe conditions existing in the office building at the National Zoological Park. This particular diatribe is caused by the caving away of the floor in the Director's office. The floor header (floor in the Director's office, and ceiling in the Budget Analysis office) in front of the fireplace was rotted out by termite damage. While this particular piece of damage is being temporarily repaired by the Zoo carpenters, it only serves to elucidate the danger of this rotten old building. - If you will recall the D.C. Department of Buildings and Grounds made a rather extensive survey of the building four years ago. Inasmuch as the D.C. building and GSA apparently will have nothing to do with a building under the control of the D.C. B.I.G., we continue to exist in this building. Within the past six months representatives of the Smithsonian's Building Management Section looked over this historical monstrosity and once again we were extended sympathy. - 2. The second reason for writing this memorandum is to make a matter of record that the building continues to be dangerous and that its effective and complete repair is beyond the capabilities of the National Zoological Park at the present time. - This is one of those 'I told you so' memos which may serve in some minor way for my protection when this building collapses. I despise myself for writing this, but I am sufficiently concerned that I fell it must be written. - An interesting and apparently academic question which I have asked orally several times is who has the power and authority to condemn this building and make the condemnation stick. - You gentlemen are cordially invited to come out and see the mess.' - Refers to Buildings and Grounds survey of 1957 (See also letter of 3/22/1960) and reports on the dilapidated condition of the Holt House, also noting that little was done in the way of maintenance to avoid further deterioration. National Zoological Park, Administrative Files on the Holt House
Major Buildings of the Smithsonian Institution National Zoological Park 3/15/1961 'Office (on land when acquired) - Constructed - Year: 1805 - Major Renovations - Year 1890 1899 1914 - Cost $2000 3000 950 - Est. Historical Cost $5,950 - Type of Construction: - Wood frame, stucco brick walls - Comments on condition of Building - Structural: Very Poor - Interior: Extensive termite damage - exterior: Extensive termite damage - Structural Report on Holt House Condition from unknown author. SIA RU 50 Box 124 File on NZP Buildings
Letter From R.H. Howland to Mrs. Maxine Tull Boatner 7/30/1963 'The house had undergone some changes in the last 150 years. The most noteworthy include the removal of the two winding stairways in the entrance vestibule, the demolition of the monumental flight of outside wooden steps on the opposite side of the house, giving entrance from the garden to the large central upper room, and the removal of the many portions of interior trim and flooring.' - Regarding the Holt House, there was an awareness of alterations made: removal of interior winding stairways, removal of outdoor stairs. National Zoological Park Administrative Files Holt House Folder II-Admin. Bldg.1957-1966
Memorandum to Mr. Bradley From T.H. Reed, Director, NZP 3/14/1966 'the old building should have some restoration, such as the balconies and the staircases, so that it would have the flavor of 1805 but would be practically suited to modern usage.' Reed was interested in restoring Holt House to its 1805 style. National Zoological Park Administrative Files Folder II - Administration Building 1957-1966
Report on Feasibility Study NZP for the General Services Administration Region 3 Washington, D.C. 1/1/1967 ...Findings and Conclusions: Administration Building - The present Administration Building, also known as the Holt Mansion, apparently was erected about 1805. Its location and general design strongly suggest the original purpose was to provide a secluded residence. This intent is still very much in evidence although a number of alterations have been made in attempts to facilitate Zoo administrative functions. - Despite adequate maintenance and care, a residential type of building, erected over 150 years ago, would show signs of age and wear. In this case, some of the earlier owners were unconcerned about preservation, as an advertisement in a June 30, 1841 newspaper described the property as having 'undergone three years of deterioration by the worst treatment---' when it was put up for sale. Later, the Holt Family held the property from June 1848-1890. Even during this period the building was neglected to the extent that wooden balconies, twin indoor stairways, and a broad exterior stairway leading to the second floor were allowed to disintegrate. - The Smithsonian Institution acquired the property in 1890 and by 1901 certain wall foundation sections, as well as an entire chimney, were replaced. Thereafter, termite activity necessitated a continuous program of repairs to framing, floors, and trim. A 1957 survey showed destruction of joists and flooring which had been replaced only two years earlier by Zoo workmen. In 1961, the floor in the Director's Office had collapsed due to weakening by termites and was replaced. Unchecked termite activity still persists as evidenced by flights observed in the Spring of 1966. - In brief, the present Administration Building has been sustaining continuous damage to wood framing and trim, from ground level to roof trusses, for more than a century by well established colonies of termites. - It is characteristic of subterranean termites to be extremely selective in the wood they attack. Consequently, when an infestation is widespread, as it is in this structure, complete examination of every wooden component is necessary to determine location and extent of structural damage. For example, an opening in a wall or ceiling may disclose sound wood but either or both ends of the piece may be under attack, with failure of the member being merely a matter of time. Similarly, the condition of the floor joists, some covered by concrete, others with new ends spliced on, can only be conjectured ... Note: Continued in Following Entry National Zoological Park Administrative Files - on Holt House
Report on Feasibility Study NZP General Services Administration Region 3 Washington, D.C. 1/1/1967 '...Condition of Framing: By Making use of the holes in walls and ceilings cut by the Department of Buildings and Grounds survey team in 1957, it was possible to examine about three dozen widely separated portions of framing. No active termites were seen though various degrees of prior attacks were obvious in numerous spots. Removal of concealing opaque layers such as paint, plaster, or metal only forces the termites to work deeper or into new areas so it could not be concluded the infestation in these spots has been halted. - Roof framing was checked by mounting ladders thrust through access holes. Termite activity was in slight evidence even at this height above ground level, demonstrating further how widespread the infestation has become. Staining of roof timbers indicated there were several leaks though none appeared to be serious at this time. The roof has been overlaid with asphalt shingles which very likely obviated earlier leakage. - Floor joists visible in the boiler pit showed extensive deterioration but very likely are in better condition than the joists in contact with the ground in both wings. In past years, ivy penetrated the building at window frames allowing moisture to seep in and accelerating rotting of wood members. - It was concluded that about 50% of the framing and 75% of the window frames would have to be replaced. Actual determination of the specific studs, sill, plates, headers, and joists damaged beyond structural use would necessitate removal of floors, ceiling and wall coatings, and concrete slabs poured over joists on the ground floor. (The latter item would also be necessary to insure destruction of the termite colonies by poisoning the soil inside foundation walls.) - Condition of Masonry: A check of the foundations, which are constructed of broken stone and mortar indicated they generally extend below frost line but it was not possible to ascertain the condition and dimensions of footings. Mortar could be readily scraped from between the stones with a steel tool, indicating it was soft and retained little bonding strength. - All walls above the foundation are laid up brick with exterior surfaces stucco coated. Much of the stucco is no longer bonded to the wall, particularly on the Northwest side where large sheets could have been pried off with little effort. Where exposed, mortar in the brickwork is very soft; bricks can be readily rapped loose...' Note: Continued in Following entry National Zoological Park Administrative Files - on Holt House
Report on Feasibility Study NZP for the General Services Administration Region 3 Washington, D.C. 1/1/1967 '...with adjacent mortar sifting out. The bricks appear hard, with little spallin, and might be salvaged, if desired. - Three large cracks were noted in the stucco to be extending from grade to the second floor. These were found at the Northwest, Northeast, and Southeast corners. A visual check could not be made to determine whether the fractures are through the brickwork and footings because any disturbance to the stucco would likely result in serious defacement of the exterior walls. - It was concluded all stucco would have to be removed after which it might be possible to salvage the walls and foundations provided extensive repointing and repairs were carried out. - Miscellaneous Findings: Gutters and downspouts were found to be in poor condition and beyond repair. Toilet facilities were partitioned our of large rooms and the womens' lavatory is embarrassingly visible with only a single door opening into the corridor. - The electrical distribution system appears to have been altered and rearranged to the point where circuits can only be surmised; there are no diagrams. - Window air conditioning units are mounted on window frames of questionable strength; one unit at a second story window on the northerly side is in imminent danger of falling to the ground and was brought to the attention of the Zoo engineer - Birds' nests were found behind furred interior walls indicating there are fairly large openings under the eaves. - The site of the Administration Building on the crest of a hill about a mile from the animal houses leaves it quite isolated from the scene of general activity. - Summation: - 1. The obvious and extensive damage sustained by the Administration Building through water and termite action necessitates stripping the entire building in order to restore it for any purpose with confidence in its structural reliability over an extended period of time. - 2. Elimination of the long-established termite colonies and at least partial excavation of earth inside of the foundations are essential to preservation of any structure occupying this site and existing foundations. - 3. The isolation of this site from the Zoological Park exhibits and its close proximity tot he proposed Animal Hospital and Research Buildings offer decided advantages as a location for a Visitors Guest House in comparison with an Administrative Building for the Zoo proper...' Note: Continued in following Record National Zoological Park Administrative Files - on Holt House
Report on Feasibility Study NZP for the General Services Administration Region 3 Washington, D.C. 1/1/1967 '4. The Administration Building can continue in its present use until a more appropriate site is selected and a more suitable building is designed and built but its useful life under present conditions is fast drawing to a close. - 5. General repairs on the scale necessary for rehabilitation of the Administration Building will necessitate relocation of staff and office equipment to temporary quarters in the neighborhood as there is no suitable space available in the Park. - 6. To restore the Holt Mansion to its original appearance for service as a museum or some other long range purpose would involve razing the entire structure and then rebuilding, possibly salvaging the brick for exterior wall surfaces. The absence of drawings or photographs raises basic questions with respect to both internal and external architectural features which were demolished or modified many years ago so that restoration with integrity is virtually impossible regardless of cost. - Recommendations: The conclusion is inescapable that in attempting to prolong the useful life of the Administration Building it will have to be stripped to bare framing. walls, and foundations for termite proofing and repairs. Only then will it be possible to certify the brickwork and foundations as being useable. It is already apparent that overall pointing and fresh stucco are required. This type of demolition can be done by hand labor only, is costly and time consuming and implies gambling stripping costs of $21,500 (Exhibit I) plus repair costs against the possible salvage of the masonry- a questionable wager in view of the survey findings. - 1. A program should be initiated at the earliest date directed toward construction of a new administration Building on the well-chosen site presented in the Master Plan (Revised). - 2. Until new quarters are provided as above, Zoo Administration activities should be continued in the present building with repairs limited to those necessary for the safety and comfort of occupants. - 3. The present Administration Building (Holt Mansion) should be razed and the site cleaned of all debris. Estimated cost $13,500 (Exhibit II). - 4. A guest House, offering modest but attractive quarters to visitors interested in animal hospital care and research, should be erected on the site of the Administration Building (Holt Mansion). The location offers these advantages:...' Note: Continued in Following Record National Zoological Park Administrative Files on Holt House
Report on Feasibility Study NZP for the General Services Administration Region 3 Washington, D.C. 1/1/1967 'Purpose of the Study: The purpose of this study was to develop a series of corrective actions which could be taken in connection with each of the three unrelated problems in the National Zoological Park. Geography, topography, and costs of alternatives would weigh heavily in the selection of the course of action to be followed in each case. - Scope of Work: A. Administration Building- Advise whether this building should be (1) retained and repaired for use as an office building, (2) retained and repaired for use as a guest house or visitor's center with exterior restored to essentially original appearance, as can best be determined from available information and records, (3) demolished. Complete cost analysis shall be provided...Conduct of the Study: Preliminary discussions were held with the Project Manager- General Services Administration, to establish schedules, report format, and lines of communications. GSA Handbooks were provided for guidance in the preparation of drawings and specifications according to GSA standards. - A detailed historical file, including a number of photographs, covering the Holt Mansion was also furnished as a source of background information. Rock Creek was observed as high water conditions after some 18 hours of rain on October 19,1966 and a tour of the Administration Building was taken on the same afternoon. - A thorough inspection of the Administration Building, Flight Cage, and Rock Creek was made by four technical representatives of Kidde Constructors on October 28, 1966...The group was accompanied by Mr. Frank Maloney, General Engineer of the National Zoological Park, who arranged for tools, ladders, and other equipment needed for detailed examination of the building and flight cage. A complete set of topographical maps for the Zoological Park and an outline drawing of the Administration Building were obtained for reference purposes at this time. - Summary of Recommendations: Administration Building 1. Initiate plans for a new Administration Building on the site selected in the Master Plan (Revised). - 2. Until new quarters are provided as above, Zoo Administration activities should be continued in the present building with repairs limited to those essential for the safety and comfort of occupants. - 3. Raze the Holt Mansion upon completion of Item 1 above at an estimated cost of $13,500. (Refer to Exhibit II) - 5. Have the Holt Mansion site termite-proofed and construct a single floor Guest House Comprising five (5) efficiency apartments at an estimated cost of $177,940 (Exhibit III)..' Note: Entry Continued. National Zoological Park Administrative Files - on Holt House
Report on Feasibility Study NZP for the General Services Administration Region 3 Washington, D.C. 1/1/1967 '-within walking distance of the proposed Animal Hospital and Research Center. - -Isolated but not prohibitively so, from Zoological Park exhibits and visitor traffic. - -Exclusive paved access roads already in existence. - -Attractive natural surroundings. - -Utility connections already at hand. - The estimated cost for a guest House designed to accommodate five visitors for indefinite lengths of stay is $177,940 (Exhibits III and VIII). The cost is based on an architectural design of a single level air-conditioned building comprising five (24 ft. x 24 ft.) apartments and a lobby with front and rear entrances, having an overall area of about 5,000 sq. ft. A basement would be provided for custodian's quarters, storage, mechanical equipment and a recreation room. - 5. Prior to any construction on the site of the present Administration Building, extermination of termites in the ground should be carried out by a qualified specialist. - Estimated Cost: Administration Bldg. (Holt Mansion) - To manually strip Holt Mansion for determination of all need repairs. Work to include removal of exterior stucco and all interior finishes but excluding removal or replacement of mechanical or electrical work except where necessitated by stripping operations. - Item 1. Strip all stucco, including scaffolding, removal, and cleanup. $4000 - 2. Strip interior ceilings and walls to expose structural framing including scaffolding, removal of debris and cleanup. $13000 - 3. Break up and remove concrete floor laid on wood joists to expose latter (One full wing and one third other wing of house) $500 - 4. Electrical work Allowance 1200 - 5. Mechanical work Allowance 1200 - 6. Contingnecy Allowance 1200 - Total $21,500 - To demolish Holt Mansion and clean up site. - Item 1. Remove base plantings; cap water, gas, electric and sewer services. $3000 - 2. Demolish building 7800 - 3. Break up and remove foundations, footings and floor slabs 2200 - 4. Fill excavated portions, clean up and grade 300 - Total $13,500' - This report indicates that the 'best' option was to demolish Holt House, that it no longer could serve its function without extensive repair work, at a great cost, and even if the funds could be found, it was altered to such an extent since its purchase to bring into question its structural integrity. National Zoological Park Administrative Files on Holt House
A Bill H.R. 9780 in the House of Representatives 5/9/1967 'A Bill to amend the Act entitled 'An Act to establish the preservation of additional historic properties throughout the Nation, and for other purposes', to require the preservation of Jackson Hill-Holt-Adams House and grounds in the Nation's Capital. - Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled. That section 101 (a) (1) of the Act entitled 'An Act to establish a program for the preservation of additional historic properties throughout the Nation, and for other purposes', approved October 15, 1966 (80 Stat. 915; Public Law 89-665), is amended by inserting ',which shall include Jackson Hill-Holt-Adams House and grounds in the National Zoological Park in the District of Columbia,' immediately after 'national register'. - Sec. 2. Section 106 of such Act is amended by adding at the end thereof the following: 'The Secretary of the Interior, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and the Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution jointly shall take steps to preserve, restore, and maintain Jackson Hill-Holt Adams House and grounds in the National Zoological Park in the Nation's Capital, associated with Presidents Andrew Jackson, John Quincy Adams, and Martin Van Buren, and no facility of the National Zoological Park shall be constructed on or adjacent to such historic site and building or operated in such a manner as to affect adversely the preservation, restoration, and maintenance of Jackson Hill-Holt-Adams House and grounds as a historic site and building significant in American history.' Bill listing Holt House on the National Register of Historic landmarks. SIA RU 137 Box 74: Holt House Folder
Newspaper Article Reprinted from the Smithsonian Torch :'Protests Won't Change Plans for Zoo' Hosp.' 7/1/1967 'The site for the new Zoo hospital-research center will remain as announced despite protests from the Kalorama Citizens Association. This is the conclusion of a statement prepared for the Regents in reply to the group's arguments. - The civic organization has submitted a letter and petition to Chief Justice Earl Warren, chancellor of the SI Board of Regents, objecting to the new facility's location near the Holt House administration building. The petition was followed up with a letter printed in the Washington Daily News last month. - The hospital site is quiet and secluded, and therefore ideal for nervous, excited or disturbed animals and conducive to research observations, the statement reports. The buildings will be on land which cannot be economically developed for public use, and will not be readily visible from surrounding residential areas. - 'The National Capital Planning Commission was especially pleased with the architect's solution of adapting a very low building to the existing terrain,' the report says. 'Due to the very need for isolation of this animal facility the existing dense woods between the new facility and the Zoo property line will be carefully preserved.' - The group's specific objection was that Holt House is a landmark whose preservation has been called for by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The report states that 'Prior to recommending siting of the Animal Hospital and Research Complex near the Holt House, a careful evaluation of its historical significance was made. A historical research report prepared in 1962 by the Chairman of the Department of the Consulting Committee for the National Survey of Historical Sites and Buildings, states that there is no evidence to indicate an association of the Holt House with persons of National significance.' - Holt House was included on a list of historic landmarks in the District of Columbia prepared by the Joint Commission on Landmarks of the National Capital Planning Commission and the Fine Arts Commission. Subsequent conferences with the Landmarks Commission brought the decision that the building should be preserved for Zoo use but not restored to its original internal plan. - The Landmarks Commission concurred with the Institution's conclusion that locating the new hospital facility in back of and down-hill from the house would not conflict with the desire to preserve the approach to and views from the house.' This appears to have been the Smithsonian's first step in placing Holt House on the National Register. See Senate Bill of 1967. SIA RU 365 Box 35 Folder 9
A History of NZP Construction 5/1/1968 For year 1929, lists 'Office Building (Holt House) was painted and redecorated for first time in 26 years.' - For 1962 'Downstairs office rooms in the east wing of the Administration Building (Holt House) were refurbished. Historical window panes removed and taken to the Smithsonian.' - For 1965 'Two old storerooms in the Administration building (Holt House) were cleared out and completely remodeled to serve as offices for the director.' - For 1966 'Entire first floor of administration building (Holt House) remodeled and painted.' Later account of what was believed to have been done at Holt House. Unknown author. SIA RU 365 Box 34 Folder 10; Construction, 1805-1979, 1981
Memorandum to T.H. Reed, Director NZP From Petrella, Chief, Operations and Maintenance Dept. 4/30/1973 'The O&M Department, begining this Saturday and Sunday, May 5 and 6, will remove the existing skylight in the drafting room, and add additional supports to above beams, and install a new dropped ceiling. The O&M Department will also relieve the hazardous conditions that exist over windows by installing new lentils. etc. With the exception of the 5th and 6th, all of the above work will be done during normal working hours. - The O&M Department cannot remove the Spaulding stucco on the exterior of the building, point up the bricks, waterproof and re-stucco the building. I suggest that this job should go out on contract.' - Addition of dropped ceiling, presently in upper story of house, and recommendation of work needing to be done at Holt House are listed. SIA RU 326 Box 43: Office of Facilities Management
Study, submitted to Calise, Asst. Director for Support Services from Neuber and Sohn, Engineers 11/17/1981 'This letter is in response for a request for proposal to review the Holt House for the following items; - 1. What problems are fo immediate concern for those working in the building itself. - 2. What needs to be done to make it safe and usable for the present use. - 3. What needs to be done to bring it up to date as far a contemporary building and its continuing use, most likely as an office building. - We understand that the value of the house is mainly because of its architectural style rather than any historical significance and because of that the remedial work necessary should be in keeping with its style. We also sense that there is a desire to recapture any architectural significance that has become altered during its use over the years. We are aware of a proposed budget that, if funded, could bring the building up to date with respect to present mechanical and electrical systems, life safety codes and recapturing significant aspects of the original architecture that have become altered. - There are two approaches in doing the above study One, say Plan A would be a brief study involving the following items; - 1. A measure of the building to establish approximate dimensions that would permit the development of schematic plans and elevations - 2. A structural survey of the building noting areas requiring possible immediate attention, areas requiring attention to permit continuing use for the present occupancy and work needed to upgrade the building structurally. - 3. A brief search of records to determine what major architectural features have been obliterated such as the main entrance to the building. The present one does not make sense architecturally. - 4. A review of the exterior and interior materials to establish a general authenticity of what there is and how any up-grading might affect them. For instance, is the stucco an original idea or a subsequent one. - 5. Use studies that would include use as an office building but also would include studies that would permit use of the building as originally intended along with use as a present-day office building. - 6. Review of possible Life Safety Code compliances. - 7. Sketches that reflect possible uses. - 8. Recommendations. continued in following record. National Zoological Park Administrative File on Holt House
Study, submitted to Calise, Asst. Director for Support Services From Neuber and Sohn, Engineers 11/17/1981 'Plan B would be quite similar to plan A but it would involve more detail, detail that would be sufficient to be the basis for the award of an A/E contract to prepare the necessary construction documents. We believe this to be the preferable plan for what is proposed will have to be done eventually. - 1. Documentation of the present building. This would involve measuring the building in accordance with the standards suggested by architectural historians which are quite exact-such as measuring to the 1/4 inch. - 2. The same structural survey would be performed. Recommendations would be more finite because the nature of the original architecture would be known to a greater extent. - 3. Retrified photography would be used to define the elevations except where shrubs present an obstacle. This venable rather accurate definition of scale of area and location of problem areas. The photos would be scalable. - 4. A consultant researcher would be employed to search for additional information in areas such as tax records, National Historical Society, in addition to those listed in your historical brief. Often times, valuable clues are obtained in this manner that explain some of the changes made to the house over the years. The house has had many changes made and they have confused the original architecture. In order to do a reasonable effort of repair and restoration, determining the period in which some of the changes were made will help evaluate whether the changes are worth retaining or not. - 5. Identification of deteriorated building fabric. This is similar to item 4 in Plan A but would involve recommendations as to which materials have historical significance and should be restored, or replaced in kind and which materials have no historical significance and can be replaced with compatible contemporary materials. - 6. Use studies would be similar to that of item 5 of Plan A. The main first floor area has architectural significance and hopefully its use for other than office space can be justified. - 7. A preliminary plan would be developed based on a chosen use. Exploration of use or uses would be performed with a decision being made and developed. - For Plan A...a fee of $9500 - For Plan B...a fee of $19,500.' - Consulting Engineer's suggestions for two plans of actions regarding the future of Holt House. Note recognition of changes made such as South entrance hall. National Zoological Park Administrative Files on Holt House


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