BY LANDY ERLICK
The ice house here at the Jay Heritage Center is over one hundred and twenty years old. While the structure itself may date back to around 1890, many of the surrounding stone walls are actually rooted in the 1820s or earlier. These distinctive stone walls contributed significantly to the declaration of the Boston Post Road as a National Historic Landmark in 1993.
Unfortunately, before the birth of the Jay Coalition and the Jay Heritage Center, some parts of the property were left to weather without proper preservation measures. This was the case with the Jay Ice House, which witnessed fairly substantial corrosion. The decay, primarily in the two doors, was foremost caused by rainfall.
Bruce MacDonald, an artisan from Ashwood Restoration, explained that the design of the diagonal wood boards probably caused improper draining of the rainwater, resulting in deterioration specific to the bottom corners of the doors.
After splicing and replacing the decayed pieces, MacDonald embedded borate crystals in the wood. These crystals will remain in the structure and activate upon contact with moisture, protecting and radiating throughout the material.
The restoration process of the Jay Ice House Doors began last month and is progressing quite efficiently. We look forward to seeing the newly improved doors back in their rightful hinges!