Site Visit – David Davis Mansion

September 9, 2021 – Bloomington, Illinois

Perhaps the biggest advantage of serving the historic preservation market is the opportunity to visit the sites where Abatron products are specified and installed.  Earlier this month I had the opportunity to visit the David Davis Mansion in Bloomington, Illinois.  This exquisite example of Victorian architecture was built by David Davis and his wife Sarah between 1870 and 1872.

Davis studied law at Yale University prior to moving to Bloomington to begin his career.  In addition to practicing law, Davis was a prominent political figure, serving as both an Illinois state senator and a state judge.  He is well known as an influential associate of Abraham Lincoln, who eventually named Davis as a United States Supreme Court Justice.

Upon his death in 1886, Davis was the largest land owner in Illinois and his estate was worth between four and five million dollars.  The mansion property, which includes a woodhouse, a barn and stables, and “Sarah’s Garden”, remained in the Davis family until 1960 when it was donated to the state of Illinois.  The state  operates the property as a historic site with tours available to the public.

 As is true with any property of its scope and significance, ongoing maintenance with careful attention to detail is critical to the property’s long-term survival.  Currently the state is working with Baily Edward designers and  CAD Construction and Design to repair and restore the slate roofing, the wood trim, and the paint on the property’s wood storage house.

Abatron was invited to the property to demonstrate our wood restoration products, LiquidWood® and WoodEpox® for use on the wood trim and windows after the removal of severely damaged paint. The products were chosen because of their reputation for high performance, ease-of-application, and suitability for permanent wood repairs.

After a detailed explanation of the wood repair process, a live product demonstration, and an examination of CAD Construction’s mock-up, the site was reviewed for appropriate application sites.  LiquidWood and WoodEpox will play a key role in maintaining as much of the original wood as possible at the Davis property.

About Baily EdwardsBaily Edward’s preservation team possesses extensive and diverse experience in almost every area of historic preservation including rehabilitation, preservation planning, architectural history, HAABS reporting, building restoration, and LEED design. BE’s ethic is to first do no harm; as historic preservation experts, BE ensures we understand the long-term repercussions of any and all treatment procedures. With this experience, we bring a resourcefulness to implement options that are creative and viable. BE approaches all historic preservation projects with the intent to retain the maximum historic fabric.

Baily Edwards has worked successfully on 63 National Register of Historic Places and 57 National Register Eligible historic structures for clients such as the GSA, the National Park Service, the Illinois Capital Development Board (CDB), the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

About CAD Construction & Design – “CAD is a female-owned and operated general contractor located in Central Illinois. We have evolved from a subcontractor specializing in wood framing, interior trim, and roofing to a general contractor with a diverse portfolio. Our experienced staff has planned and constructed everything from schools, churches, long-term care facilities to post frame buildings, hotels, student housing, and standing seam roofs. We understand the critical nature of these projects and have the experience and resources available to meet these aggressive fast track schedules, while delivering a high-quality finished product.”