SCA Helps Chip Away at Historic Montague Building

The steady “tink, tink” of hammer driving chisel against mortar filled the chilly morning air as a group of restoration specialists began the job of sprucing up the Neldon-Roberts Stonehouse on Route 206.
Owned by the National Park Service as part of the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, and used as a museum by the Montague Association for the Restoration of Community History, the stone house was originally built as a schoolhouse with room on the second floor for the teacher to live.
The dozen-member team includes National Park Service employees from the Historic Preservation Center in Frederick, Md., and the recreation area; students from the Student Conservation Association; and AmeriCorps.
Curtis Ward, from the preservation center, who is overseeing the work, said the initial steps are to remove the old mortar between the stones, then install new mortar, a process known as repointing.
Jennifer Palmer, an archeology technician at the Water Gap, stood in a hole dug against the building’s foundation.
Using a ruler, she was measuring distances around rocks and other debris found in the “dig” and calling them out to Stanley Merritt, from the Student Conservation Association.
The association accepts students from high school through to recent college graduates to work in national and state parks, other public lands, and urban green spaces to make improvements and learn conservation and sustainability practices.
Merritt, from Poughkeepsie, N.Y., was using Palmer’s descriptions and measurements to make a scale drawing of what was being uncovered.
Student Conservation Association