Saving Face: Castings Return Historic Building to its Original Splendor

The historic Steiner-Lobman building before its new signage was added – photo from www.flickr.com

The newly-minted Rushton Stakely building in Montgomery, Alabama has earned its name. The law firm Rushton, Stakely, Johnston & Garrett, P.A., the building’s namesake, has owned and occupied the Steiner-Lobman building (as it was long known) for decades, slowly restoring the beautiful 1891 Italianate edifice that was first used as a dry goods warehouse. The building is an historical and architectural gem in Montgomery and is celebrated by the city. It’s also a popular spot on the local architectural tour.

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Several headers featuring the face of Roman god Neptune were missing. Five castings were made by Abatron’s specialists – photo from Hilda Dent

When the firm decided to add its name to the building, they asked Hilda Dent, owner and founder of Old House Specialists to replicate missing headers and a medallion to fully restore the façade. Dent started Old House Specialists in 1998 when she decided to turn her love of vintage architecture and skills as a historic home restoration specialist into her own independent contracting business. Since then Old House Specialists has taken on all kinds of projects in the Montgomery area – high profile building renovations like this one, as well as wood window and door repair and more.

Dent reached out to Abatron to create a customized mold and multiple castings from an existing damaged header. Abatron repaired the header at our in-house workshop, used it to form a mold, and created five replica castings that perfectly matched the existing ones.

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Creating the mold on site and removing it from the original medallion – Photo from Hilda Dent

Dent also used Abatron’s Mastermold 12-3® on-site to create a mold of a medallion that couldn’t be removed from the building. Using Woodcast™ as the casting material, she was able to replicate the medallion in full detail. The casting was placed on a previously blank parapet below the building’s new name, Rushton Stakely.

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Removing the replica casting from the mold. The finished product is flawless – Photo from Hilda Dent

Dent and Old House Specialists have played an important role in restoring Montgomery’s architectural treasures. Her expertise and resourcefulness helped bring this gilded structure back to its original, impressive state. Like it did when it was first built, the Steiner-Lobman/Rushton Stakely building still stands out as a richly ornamented architectural achievement and serves as inspiration for historic preservation in Montgomery.

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Photo from Hilda Dent