Return to Timeline

Return to Table of Contents.

After the blush of winter has passed, work resumes.
(Actually, work goes on all winter, just more slowly and often not the high work because of the afore-mentioned ice.)
In the upper right hand corner it is possible to see the means by which the cross-,members are laid.
The end pieces temporarily rest on columns of three-inch pipe until real walls can catch up with them.
In the foreground is a luggage cart from the airport. This baby is taking off.
Note the handrail around the foundation.

The back (north) gossamer wall of pipe and slotted angle will be the stonework.
Shown here is going to be the height of one storey of stonework. Final stonework will be two storeys.
The pipes are centered on the foundation and the stone will be laid on the outside half of the foundation.
Concrete blocks will be laid on the inside half of the foundation and filled with rebar and hand-mixed concrete.
This will give a flat interior surface and is necessary because the stone slabs vary in thickness from four inches to eight inches.
In between the stone and the blocks are tons of rebar running horizontally, vertically and diagonally.
The center part is then filled with hand-mixed concrete as well making a twenty-three inch thick masonry wall.
This will be "C"-shaped (half the east, all of the north and half of the west) and will rise two storeys around half the perimeter (more later).

This photo may seem somewhat out of place on a construction website. However, it is topical.
The farm is adjacent to nearly one thousand acres of climax forest administered by the state of Illinois as a wilderness area.
Invasives in the form of Bush and Japanese Honeysuckle, Russian Olive, Lespidiza and many others are changing the forest.
Consequently, periodic controlled-burns are scheduled for which the Pruitt family volunteers.
The Russian princess then queued in line for the completion of the castle at the time was wearing a Tyvec hazmat suit.
She managed to stand downwind of burning Poison Ivy. She subsequently turned into a cheese pizze (see above).
A trip to the hospital and various injections of steroids and cortisone were necessary.
The dermatologist recommended a topical ointment of cortisone as well, which sent the clan to Walmart (yuck).
Nearby was a Rural King (which gives out free popcorn).
Handwritten on an index card on the bulletin board in the lobby was the following message "Auction Saturday for windows and radiators."
It was accompanied by a phone number. Dean shrugged his shoulders.
At home, this nagging thought wouldn't go away. Dean called Rural King and asked the Help Desk to give him the phone number on the card.
The next morning (Thurday), Dean called the number and got an auction house in Marissa, Illinois.
The auctioneer explained they had auctioned off the contents of Marissa High School the previous Saturday.
They had forgotten to auction the windows and the radiators.
When quizzed about the quantity and quality of the windows, it was confirmed they were aluminum (gee whiz).
Dean made an appointment to meet the auctioneer on Friday and inspect the windows (they were still installed in the building).
Yes they were aluminum. And they were brand-new Quaker Windows, argon-filled, coated, 5/8th" thick, institutional.
They were so new, they still had the paper in the windows with Quaker's name on them.
No student had ever looked through these windows to daydream.
Apparently, Marissa High School was condemned because of rampant asbestos problems.
Bill Boardman arrived Friday night and Saturday he and Dean went to the auction. First they drove by the school.
Dean asked Bill how many windows he should buy? Bill replied, "All of them. These windows are $1000 each."
At the auction, The auctioneer started out, "Who'll give me $25 each?'" No takers.
"Who'll give me $20 each?" No takers.
"Who'll give me $15 each?" No takers.
"Who'll give me $10 each?" No takers.
"Who'll give me $5 each?" No takers.
Dean raised his card and offered $2 each. "Sold!" Down came the hammer.
$88,000 worth of brand-new windows for what would actually end up being a couple hundred bucks with tax and all.
When Dean and Bill walked out of the auction, the windshield was shattered on his new car. Bad omen.
The next day, Dean packed up his tools and truck and trailer and immediately started taking out windows. Alone. Some of them were huge.
They must have required four men to install. Dean managed alone.
When quizzed by the Russian princess what the hurry was, he replied "a handful of ball bearings can do $10,000 damage."
And besides, apparently the locals weren't too pleased with the price he paid.
There was a lovely, young lady taking up the hard maple gymnasium flooring she had bought.
Dean asked her what the local scuttlebutt regarding the windows was? "They think you stole them!"
Dean then redoubled his efforts, dragging along his children, his 84-year-old father and the Russian princess.
Each night they would come home with a huge trailer stacked to the stars with windows interleaved with cardboard.
It would be seven years before they began to be installed.
So why a picture of the above "cheese pizza"?
Because the hurry to get the windows out was so intense there were no photos taken.
Starting in 2014 with the installation there will be photos.
And perhaps a call to Marissa High School can yield a photograph of the new windows installed in the school.

Often times the I-beams and channel were bent or distorted.
Dean devised a fixture with a 15-ton rail car jack that would bend them back (with much exertion).

A new phase! The first hints of a facade!
The red beams are 8 inch "H" beams from the demolition of Fenton Chrysler Works.
Each one is stamped "Made in Germany". They are virtually brand-new.
Just prior to this, Mercedes-Benz had bought Chrysler and built a new wing.
Then they sold it to Fiat and they tore it down. Dean is the net beneficiary.
This first storey on the exterior is almost eighteen feet.
Above the red beams, note the ever present pair of Tiger Chain Hoists.
In the front, see the bending apparatus for the I-beams.
In front of that see a small, antique drill press. It is out-fitted with a new 3/4 hp motor.
These were the blower motors on the steam heaters at City Museum, but Bob lost the right to use City Steam.
Everything Dean owns has one of these motors. One of these also lifts the 20-ton stone at City Museum.

Here a second storey of the facade begins. These will be anchored into the foundation with inch and a quarter stainless steel anchors.
For the moment, all sit there via gravity until the position of the entire facade can be fine-tuned and they'll be permanently affixed.
All of these beams and brackets are bolted together with 304 or 316 forged stainless steel 3/4" nuts, bolts and washers.
Good for 15,000-18,000 years at least.

This is an earthquake strap. Dean's own innovation.
Originally 16" x 16" timbers rested on the cast-iron shelf brackets shown here.
They were notched and lapped over the little "L's" visible on the shelf.
That, by default (and the fact that they were wood), made it a "soft" system.
With steel resting on cast-iron two possibilities exist.
With a gravity fit i.e. resting in place, an extreme shaking can dislodge them and everything crashes down.
If the beams and shelves are drilled and bolted, in an extreme shaking the brittle cast-iron snaps and everything comes crashing down.
These straps, as Dean designed it, might move an inch or two left or right or the circle of the steel might elongate, but only so far.
In a monster earthquake, a wood floor in place should also supply the "membrane effect" and act to keep the system pliable yet intact.
Some flexing, some shimmy and a return to normal or near normal, but no catastrophic failure.

Here is the fabrication center. Band saw, small drill press and large drill press.
Here are, being cut, the corner channel pieces at forty-five degree angles.
Note the radio in the foreground. Continuous classical music accompanied the work until the tragic end of Classic 99.

Here is an eighteen-foot 8-inch "H" beam ready for cosmetic surgery on the band saw.
The cart, also by Dean, can handle items up to 22 feet long and four hundred pounds. It is a life saver.
The trailer behind was given to Dean. It was a four-horse trailer and was totally full of wet sawdust.
The sawdust went around trees as mulch and the sides went for scrap and this trailer has hauled half the planet Earth to the farm.

Here is the same beam on the same saw being squared and trimmed prior to wire-brushing and repainting,
A story about the bandsaw. Dean was looking in used furniture shops in Kingston, Jamaica for antiques in 1990.
He spied this bandsaw and the proprietor wanted $75 U.S. dollars for it. Dean snatched it.
He totally disassembled it and carried it back to St. Louis in pieces of luggage. This is the bandsaw that built City Museum. Literally.
Now Dean brought it home to retire and leisurely build a monument.
Note the chain hoist and framework for lifting heavier items into place.

About this time, Bellon Wrecking demolished a parking garage down on Gravois in south St. Louis.
His foreman, John, was wrecking it using a sort of "robo-wrecker" (Dean's name for it).
Basically, he had a handset like a video game and walked behind this machine which had a pneumatically-operated chisel point.
It was on a pair of caterpillar tracks and moved about from the handset commands like a little baby bulldozer.
He snatched these loose, clean as a whistle and the crane loaded them on Dean's trailer. They weren't terribly heavy.
There were about thirty of them and they weigh about two hundred pounds each. Total 6000 pounds. They were twenty plus feet long each.
Six thousand pounds is about the carrying capacity of three axles (two trailer and one truck).
The problem was, the ends of the beams stuck off the back of the trailer by a half dozen feet, placing the center of gravity behind the axles.
This gave it a disturbing propensity to fishtail. At a certain speed, it would set up a harmonic and rapidly ramp up in ferocity.
The trick was to accelerate, decellerate, accellerate through the harmonic point.
This went fine until Poplar Street Bridge when that option disappeared.
It was fish-tailing mightily, the tires were rubbing the frame and it was trailing a cloud of black smoke like a garbage fire going across the bridge.
Safely into Illinois, Dean coasted down the ramp and inspected his load. Not pretty.
Fortunately, he carried two spares and the famous rail car jacks that will lift any load.
He made it creeping at five miles per hour to MacKanson Auto Body and pulled onto their wide apron and begged them some lugs and nuts.
The originals had been beaten out of their sockets and the rims were hanging on by a thread.
That would have made interesting nightly news to have burning wreckage on no wheels sitting on the main bridge across the Mississippi!
Dean crept home at ten miles per hour hoping police would consider it more problematic to stop him than to let him get where he was going.
Don Bellon, out of the goodness of his heart , gave Dean the joists for free.
(Probably because they both got shafted so badly by Sorkis Webbe tearing 8th and Washington down.)

It is possible to get a sense of perspective by comparing the load to the Toyota Camry in the background.
The trailer is not too heavily loaded judging by the tires. Nor are the leaf springs inverted which is generally a bad sign.
The wooden 4x4's in the front and back (but not the middle) under the load, had the unintended consequence of breaking the frame.
These joists are to be used for the roof (reference later photos).
Several of them were temporarily used as a beamway for a traveling chain hoist when setting the stone on the north wall (reference later photos)
This is October 3, 2007.

In December 2007, Bruce and American Timber would wreck the Waterloo Granary for Bellon Wrecking.
Dean would salvage plywood, treated lumber beams, iron building stays, copper wire and various fixtures.
Most important was the plywood because it was 3/4" thick and there were over one hundred sheets in good condition.

Note the said plywood. There three more loads just like this one that had to be hand-carried to the barn.
Note the fresh load of I-beams being processed at the saw, wire-brushed and then painted red prior to installation.
On the left behind the plywood are segments of a spiral staircase that will go somewhere.

Go to 2008.

Return to Timeline.