Town Talk: Hermann’s Monument base assessment

You may have notice some activity at the Hermann Monument in the past couple weeks. The city has received a Minnesota Historical and Cultural Heritage Grant from the Minnesota Historical Society in the amount of $60,000 for a condition assessment of the monument base, and verifying the condition of the statue, after its repair in 2004. Once the grant was received, the city sent out request for proposal for the assessment. The city received five proposals for the assessment. After a committee review, with the help from citizens involved with the monument and city staff, MacDonald & Mack Architects were selected to provide the assessment.

The condition assessment is from the footings to the bottom of Hermann’s feet, to address the structural condition of the building, and the moisture intrusion that has been going on for many years. There are no original blue prints for the structure, so with the assessment the city is verifying how the building was built, and what products were used. With news articles from the past and the assessment, the architects will be able to put together how the building was constructed and what products were used at that time. One of the items already verified with the assessment was the granite footing and limestone, Kasota stone, foundation. With the aid of a local contractor, a hole was dug next to the monument. The footing is made of granite field stone, and the limestone foundation sits on top of the footing at ground level. There were also some holes cut open on the inside of the interruptive center. A boroscope was used to view the interior space between the plaster and the structure.

There have been many projects at Hermann over the years fixing and repairing the monument. One of the major projects was done back in the fifties with the application of Cementous covering over the limestone foundation. Many people have not seen the monument without the covering on the base. With the assessment, it will be determined how to proceed forward with the covering, remove and restore to original, or repair what is there now.

The assessment team was onsite a few days, taking notes, pictures, 3-D scans of the outside and inside of the monument. The team consisted of the architects, structural engineer, mechanical engineer, and a historical conservator. They also took samples of the bricks, mortar, wood, limestone, metal and concrete used. These items will be analyzed, to determine how the product was made, and what will be suitable to use if repairs are needed. The assessment is to be completed by the end of the year, with a plan on how to move forward, and an estimated cost of repairs and restoration that is needed. The assessment is also to verify the structural stability of the monument. The city then would have to have plans drawn up for repairs and restoration and would look for funding for the items needed to be done. Grants would be part of the funding looked at for the future of the monument. The future projects, depending on what needs to be done, would likely take several years to complete, and several grant cycles.

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Editor’s Note: The City of New Ulm presents a weekly column highlighting activities in different departments in the city government. Once a month the city will answer questions from readers. Questions on New Ulm city issues can be sent to comments@ci.new-ulm.mn.us.

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