Cornell University – AD White House

ADWhite New Copper 2ADWhitesouth wing 2
Building Owner:Cornell University
City / State:Ithaca, New York
Specifier:Levine & Co.
General Contractor:Ace Masonry, Inc.
Project Info:Very Difficult Copper Flashings details at chimneys and dormers
Project Size:2,000 ft²
Roof System:Copper

A.D. White House – Cornell University
Focusing on the Future - Preserving the Past

In 1871, Andrew Dickson White, the first president and co-founder of Cornell University, commissioned a mansion for the university president; to be built on Cornell’s newly established campus in Ithaca, NY. White personally paid for the structure (the incredible sum $50,000 in 1871) which was designed by William Henry Miller and Charles Babcock. Upon completion of the mansion in 1874, the White family moved from Syracuse, NY to Ithaca. In the early 1900s additions were added and the size of the building grew and interior renovations were completed. Over the course of its life, the house served as home to only two other Cornell presidents and after a 20 year tenure as the university’s art museum from 1953-1973, the mansion was slated to be demolished. Henry Guerlac, the director of the school’s Society for the Humanities at the time, applied for and received historic status for the building, thus ensuring its survival for future generations. Currently the mansion houses the Society for the Humanities with office, event and conference space and also a private study for a quiet retreat for current Cornell University presidents and is also popular spot for weddings and receptions.

The 2010 restoration of mansion’s roofing was awarded to Charles F. Evans Company, Inc. of Elmira, NY, a division of Evans Roofing Company. The 2,000 sq. ft. roofing restoration, which began on June 10, involved stripping three layers of built-up roofing (which included metal, rubber, and asphalt shingles) and included some minor deck repair, which had to be custom cut in order to fit the historic building and provide adequate strength for the new copper roofing. Chris Parsons, Project Manager for Charles F. Evans Company, Inc. said that it was “A prime example of team work under pressure and everything coming together at the right time.” The job was completed in a little over three months, as autumn and colder upstate New York temperatures approached. The six man crew only encountered slight issues that arose during the roofing process; making sure that flashings around dormers and chimneys were tight and waterproof. The project, a first for the team of Levine & Co. Architecture, Ace Masonry and Charles F. Evans, was finished on September 21, 2010. This roof is another testament to the preservation of historic landmarks at Cornell and the 70 plus year relationship with the Charles F. Evans Company, Inc. Students and staff of Cornell University will be able to enjoy this impressive building for years to come.


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