Important Milestone Reached:
The last three buildings with leaking roofs of the 18 Building WWII radar laboratory H-Complexes will be replaced.
The Wall Township Committee has approved a resolution to execute a contract with Pravco, Inc. for the roof replacement project at Camp Evans. The bid from Pravco, Inc. was the lowest of the 12 proposals given to the township, coming in at $143,317.
InfoAge has been working to replace roofs at the historical site since 2006. Over 30 have been replaced with the help of individual donors, multiple grants from the Monmouth County Historical
Commission, The 1772 Foundation, O.C.E.A.N. Inc., funds raised from Halloween events and critical help from the township of Wall.
Beginning in 2006 when the first of four transfers of Camp Evans buildings were completed, InfoAge went to work funding the replacement of leaking roofs. A leaking roof destroys a historic building, first with mold and fungal infestation, then the roof structure collapses. In nearly every case the old roofing material was completely torn off, areas with rotted wood was replaced and new roofing installed. The Wall Township Building Department inspected each new roof for proper installation.
In 2006, with the help of a matching grant from the Monmouth County Historical Commission the TIROS satellite ground control center building (9162) was given a new roof. This building was where the first weather satellite photos were developed and the ability to track hurricanes was discovered. InfoAge funds would pay for a new roof on the Diana Dish satellite tracking building. Two minor buildings on the Diana/TIROS site were also given new roofs.
As soon as the next set of buildings were transferred, InfoAge would use individual donor gifts to replace four roofs on the WWII administration buildings (9032A, 9032B, 9032C & 9032D). Building 9032C had a hole in the roof large enough to drop a basketball through. Also given a new roof was the WWII telephone exchange building (9059) and a separate boiler building (9033). The Monmouth County Historical Commission awarded InfoAge a matching grant to repair structural damage and to replace the roof on a WWII addition to the Marconi Power house (9006).
In 2009, after a bitter struggle with the Army, the third set of buildings were transferred. Again using InfoAge funds the wooden buildings with the roofs in the worst conditions were replaced first. This included the WWII firehouse, the WWII guard headquarters, and the WWII Special Antenna Shelter. The Antenna Shelter is the last example to survive of a specially designed building for WWII radar development. The cold war era underground atomic blast detection center (9400) was given a new roof. With another Monmouth County Historical Commission matching grant, the WWII electrical shop building (9034) had a second layer of roof added. Five minor building were given new roofs too.
InfoAge had exhausted most of the money saved for new roofs. The 18-building H-Building complex remained with old roofs. In 2009, they were poor, but not bad. With each Halloween, InfoAge raised funds to replace a roof or two. Six large roofs were completed this way, as well as two boiler buildings (9012 & 9038). As the roofs had only had minor leaks, the interior repairs for museum spaces, ADA restroom upgrades and the installation of twelve HVAC systems was the funding priority. With a matching grant from the 1772 Foundation the many leaks in the Marconi Hotel piazza were repaired. The 100 year old clay tiles on the piazza roof presented a challenge. Then hurricane Sandy hit.
Hurricane Sandy badly damaged the last ten remaining roofs and destroyed the site main electric transformer. Our Township Administrator, Jeff Bertrand and Township Committeeman George Newberry, made the difference. We had no electric power for ten months. Portable generators were used to provide electric power to prevent cold damage to the plumbing and to open the museums on our regular schedule. The roof for H-building 9037A was replaced by O.C.E.A.N. Inc. to house supplies to repair the homes of hurricane Sandy families.
In 2013, Mr. Bertrand and Mr. Newberry worked with the county insurance fund to get 6 roofs replaced and the fire damaged main site transformer replaced. That left only three roofs, H-buildings 9037B, 9037C and 9037D. Twice layers of blue tarps were put on the roofs as temporary protection. The roofs just continued to fail, and leak more, as the summer sun degraded the tarps. The funding resolution was approved at the March 22 meeting of the Wall Township Committee. Thanks to the township they will be replaced soon. Waiting much longer would put the buildings in major jeopardy. InfoAge is very grateful.
Currently only six roofs remain untouched. Five of which had or have clay tiles. The main section of Marconi era power house roof (9006), originally had clay tiles. They were remove in the 1970s. Currently there are no known leaks in the 1980s roof. The main section of the Marconi Hotel (9001) and both Marconi cottages (9002 & 9003) all have their original clay tiles. Those roofs are not leaking. The roof of the hotel piazza was repaired thanks to a matching grant by the 1772 Foundation.
In 2012 , the last two buildings were transferred by the Army. During WWI, some of the more important wireless messaged of that terrible war were dispatched to and from those buildings. The roofs are fire damaged due to vandalism. The Marconi Wireless Operations Building (9004) requires repair on the east face, before replacement of the clay tiles. InfoAge volunteers have thousands of clay tiles on hand. They were salvaged from Camp Evans’ sister station near New Brunswick before its buildings were demolished. They are in storage waiting to see the sun again. The WWI Navy operations annex was heavily damaged by arson and a complete new roof structure is needed. These two wireless operations builds played a role in shortening WWI. They hold the possibility of repair and reconstruction into an environmental education center. An excellent addition to the educational offerings in the area.
Posted April 14, 2017