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HAMMEL WALL COLLAPSE
The west facing rock wall on the Hammel Brewery suffered a major collapse on April 10, 2008. The rock facade gave way and fell into Sixth Street, exposing a large portion of the old adobe load bearing wall. Temporary repairs were made to stabilize the wall from further collapse and support the second story of the building.
SCHS hired a structural engineer to determine the extent of the failure. The inspection revealed the damage was more serious than first thought. Years of hidden water damage had caused an internal “melting” of the adobe load bearing wall. This caused the rock facade to slowly separate from the adobe until it was free standing and collapsed under it's own weight. The inspection also revealed the breakdown of the internal load-bearing wall highly compromised support of the second story of the brewery neccessitating major building repairs. Initial repair estimates were about $35,000.
The SCHS Board of Directors felt strongly that the repair must rebuild the load bearing wall and restore the rock facade while preserving the historical integrity and appearance of the building.
The first difficulty encountered was how to rebuild the rock facade – stone masons skilled in that sort of rock work were getting hard to find. The nearest rock mason found was in El Paso, TX.
Bruce Burnett, of Accurate Construction Company in Socorro, proposed a novel plan to rebuild the load bearing wall and the rock facade in a cost saving process. The technique is called “slip form rock wall construction” in which a solid concrete load bearing wall and the rock facade are built at the same time. This method rebuilds the wall inside a wooden form about two feet high. When the cement is dry, the form is moved upward for the next two-foot layer. This was repeated until the full height of the solid cement load bearing wall and rock facade were completed.
Repair work began October 2009. Electrical and telephone wiring were relocated, supports for the 2nd story of the building erected, and the old adobe wall removed. Steel rebar installed, the new concrete footing poured, and the load bearing and rock wall constructed. By the end of October, the Hammel Brewery had been properly restored to its 1880s appearance for hopefully another 100 years of service.
Hammel Brewery Wall Collapse, April 10, 2008
Jack hammers were used to remove the old adobe wall, adjoining cement members,and
original wall footings beginning October 6, 2009.
Where jack hammers wouldn’t work, good old back breaking work was required.
The result is a new solid concrete load bearing wall - with rock facade - built at the same time
Finishing the new solid wall footing strengthened with rebar
"Slip forms" being positioned in place above the new footing
for rebuilding the first course of the wall on Oct. 14
Photos of the repair, October 2009
Door frames rebuilt with weathered wood and placed on top of the new footing.
Rocks for the facade being placed into the slip form
The first course completed and cement allowed to dry
Bruce Burnett positioning slip form on the 3rd course
Luis Chavez fills a bucket with cement then lifts the heavy bucket to Bruce. After the 1st course, cement was poured by hand, bucket by bucket.
Raising the slip form was repeated until the wall was completely rebuilt.
By Oct. 19, the top courses of the wall were being finished.
Slosh & swish cement around the rocks (there’s probably an engineering term for that).
On Oct. 22, the slip form and framing removed to fully expose the new wall. Finishing and cleaning the rock work followed.
Internal stairs to the 2nd floor showing the new solid concrete load bearing wall.
Hammel Brewery and SCHS Museum today
restored to original historic appearance.
(following rock wall repair)
Photos by Paul Harden and Jon Spargo
The fragile adobe wall exposed and the temporary
load bearing support
Completed repair and the excellent
historic preservation of the Hammel
The April 10, 2008 wall collapse closed 6th Street for several hours
Socorro County Historical Society
Socorro, New Mexico, USA
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With old adobe load bearing wall removed by Oct. 7, second
story is shored up with temporary supports
Building the forms and rebar for the new solid cement wall footing and for the wall repair
Pouring cement into the form for the new wall footing Oct. 12
Concrete poured into the form with facade rocks in place
Slip form raised two feet on Oct. 15 for the 2nd course
Views of the completed first course of the wall
The finished wall repair and preservation project
looks almost identical to an historic photo of the wall
On Oct. 21, framing for the top solid concrete wall header was built for supporting the load of the second story of the building.