EBT Virtual Tour
Boiler House

HAER Map Key: 2
Date Built: unknown
Also see the Boiler House in the EBT Virtual Tour.

The Boiler Shop is one of the oldest buildings in the complex. Originally, it likely dates from 1882 but was significantly expanded in 1911. A seam is apparent on the inside of the east wall where the original building ended. Apparently originaly freestanding, in 1911 the building was expanded to the south and since has shared a wall with the Car Shop. The building takes it name from the fact that the boilers producing steam power for the shops are located inside it. It should not be confused with the Boiler Shop which is where sheet metal forming took place.

The building has only one room though it is about two and a half stories tall. Other than walkways, the entire building interior is taken up by the double Boiler. It has hip gabled roof, the only major shop building to have this style of roof. The Boiler House would have been a sweltering place when the shops were operating. The boilers had to be stoked and montored constantly to keep the supply of steam available. Stokers had to shovel coal from the Coal Bin (attached to the north side of the Boiler House) into the boilers by hand. Not only did the steam power the steam engine and hence the line shafts, but also provided the power for the compressed air system, pumping water to the yard reservior, heat for the shops and station, and via the steam engine/generator, electrical power for the shops and much of the town. The degree of heat generated by the boiler is evidenced by the steel sheets used to shield the south wall and the large coupala atop the roof used to vent out the heat. This is the only shop building that does not have a truss supporting the roof, as the heat of the boilers would have kept the roof free of snow loads. It is the only building in the main shops complex that did not have a corrugated steel roof. Instead it apear to ahve had a oil cloth coating (similar to tar paper). The east wall of the building is solid brick about 2/3rds up and frame above that. The north wall is post and beam with a brick column under the northwest corner. The south wall is a mish-mash of wood framing attached to the Car Shop wall. The building is mostly open into the Machine Shop on the west side, except the top third which along with the Machine Shop roof trusses is supported by a large wood beam. There is envidence of multiple fires in the upper sections of the building as evidenced by charred wood members and replaced wood components.

The building received only basic maintenance in the 1960's and 70's and a green rolled roofing material was applied over the existing roof during that time. By the 1980's little maintenance was being done and the degraded roof begain to leak. These roof leaks began rotting out the wood structure and seeping into the brick, causing the mortar and bricks to disintegrate. Meanwhile in the roof valley between the Boiler House and Machine Shop, the sheet metal valley floor rusted out allowing water to penetrate into the main beam causing it to rot. (This was an ongoing issue as several layers of roofing were found in the valley.) In the late 1980's the National Park Service provided funding to erect cribbing over the Shops Engine to support the roofs as the beam rotted. During the 1990's the disintegration of the brick became serious and by 2003 there were acutally sizable holes thorugh all four courses of the brick wall. Also by the 2000's the cribbing erected under the beam had itself begun to rot.

In 2002 Friends of the East broad Top began restoration work in Rockhill Furnace. In 2003 triage work began on the Boiler House in the form of temporary roof patches and in nune, repairs began on the east brick wall. By the end of 2003 the most seriours structural damage was repaired and work on the interior of the wall and the east side of the boilers (also damaged by the leaking roof) was begun. July-Dec 2004 volunteers rebuilt the upper frame porton of the east wall.

The restoration work on this building was done by an FEBT crew known as the "Boiler House Rats", named after this building and their tendency to get dirty inside it.

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