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Weeks State Park stone fire tower to be re-pointed this fall

September 18, 2013
LANCASTER — Authorization for the Bureau of Historic Sites to sign a contract of up to $39,500 with stonemason Christopher Burke of Gilford to restore and re-point the Stone Fire Tower at the Weeks Estate Historic Site is on the today's agenda of Governor and Council meeting in Windham. The work is to be done by Oct. 11, with all funds to come from "moose plate" revenue.

The masonry on the stone fire tower located at the Weeks Estate atop Mt. Prospect, off Route 3 south of town, has deteriorated since the last repair work was done in 1964, nearly 50 years ago.

"As a North Country icon and active Fire Tower utilized by the Division of Forests and Lands, it is critical that this historic landmark's structural integrity is maintained," reads a statement in the backup material signed by both DRED Commissioner Jeff Rose and Parks and Recreation Director Phil Bryce. "Built in (100 years ago) in 1913 as a water tower and lookout for Congressman John Wingate Weeks' summer retreat (in his hometown), the fire tower has since become a valuable forest firefighting tool as well as a visitor attraction offering a 360-degree view of the North Country, including the Presidential and Kilkenny Ranges, as well as the Green Mountains to the West."

An invited bid process was used to secure a contractor for this project. Six bidders were invited to bid and five attended a mandatory onsite meeting on July 1. Two bids were received by the extended July 17 deadline, and Burke (burkestone@metrocast.net) was the low bidder, coming in with a price that was less than half the competing firm's total.

Burke's work will include removing weak and deteriorated mortar on the exterior of the tower, restoration of the mortar and missing stones, and sealing around the windows, according to the written specifications prepared for the bid documents.

Other work on the Lodge — installation of an exterior lift, work on the terrace and on the deteriorating masonry walls — is expected to be ready to go out to bid in the first six months of 2014.

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