016 North Elevation Arch 4 After

South Viaduct

Scope of work: Masonry arch restoration, shoring, repointing, stainless steel anchors, documentation.

The c.1845 South Viaduct is one of three bridges built by the Central of Georgia Railway across the two major roads on the western side of the Central of Georgia Railway site. In recent years four-arched brick bridge was being damaged daily by container trucks scraping the low underside of the bridge’s historic Savannah Grey bricks and soft mortar, resulting in two 1.5ft deep triangular gouges the length of the bridge. As the curator of buildings for the Coastal Heritage Society Stewart Dohrman planned and executed the work to restore this important structure.

Close work with engineers and masons having expertise in historic structures and methods was critical for maintaining the integrity of the bridge. The work was carried out using site-built, adjustable metal shuttering and traditional masonry techniques and materials to restore this significant structure. New guardrails were installed to prevent trucks from damaging the masonry further.

09 IMG 5014 Copy

Documentation and Structural Restoration

Scope of work: Steel structure restoration, concrete foundations, site work, shoring, masonry restoration, repointing and painting

As director of the Coastal Heritage Society’s preservation team, Stewart Dohrman led a team conducting structural repairs to the building. A uniquely designed footing system was installed under the exterior wall and interior footings were added. The lattice columns, a rare building method in this region, plate-girder style columns and trusses were restored while being supported by interior shoring scaffolding. Care was taken to replicate the steel columns where they had rusted out. Additional I-beams were specified and welded in place. All steel work was tested for quality and painted with a commercial grade paint system to ensure longevity. The repair and repointing of the exterior masonry walls was carried out with a lime-based mortar, sympathetic to the original.

01 Paint Shop 2

Paint Shop Stabilization, Enclosure

Scope of work: Exterior restoration, structural restoration, documentation, infrastructure, underground tunnel for future expansion.

Much like the neighboring Coach Shop, the c.1923 Paint Shop on the grounds of the Georgia State Railroad Museum was used for the general maintenance of the Central Georgia Railway’s rolling stock. After the building was decommissioned in the 1960s, however, the building remained vacant and unused, and fell into disrepair.

The Coastal Heritage Society began efforts to restore and repurpose the building in the early 2000s, beginning with removal of; moss, plants and hazardous materials and the restoration of the building’s shell. Stewart Dohrman was the curator of buildings for Coastal Heritage Society through this period. The massive sawtooth wood and steel roof structure and two-inch thick decking was rotten or rusted out completely in places. Rusted trusses and columns that had deteriorated were restored and all steel work was repainted in the original color scheme and a new roof membrane was installed. Many of the original arrowhead profile steel windows were restored and reinstalled and the huge wood doors were fully documented and rebuilt reusing original stiles and rails where possible.

This property is now used for special events and is an integral part of the Georgia State Railroad Museum.

After - Commercial Institutional Construction

Coach Shop Exterior Restoration

Scope of work: Replacement of roof, roof drains and skylight; installation of new, in-kind windows, masonry repairs and cleaning

Once used by the Central Georgia Railway to conduct maintenance on rolling stock, the c.1923 brick Coach Shop at the Georgia Railroad Museum needed extensive repairs when the Coastal Heritage Society (CHS) undertook its stabilization effort on the building in 2009.

As curator of buildings for CHS, Stewart Dohrman oversaw the project, which included the restoration of the roof structure including badly rusted roof trusses and skylight framing and installation of new 2” thick tongue and groove roof decking. A new roof was installed making it watertight for the first time since the building was abandoned by the railroad in the 1960’s.

Additional work to the building included masonry restoration of all four walls including several arches, hazardous material remediation work, restoration of several steel windows and procuring new steel windows built with the historic arrowhead profile.

Fully documenting the building and its contents was a key part of the project and included the exterior and interior structure as well as existing flooring and steel benches, found tools and other ephemera, leading to HABS quality drawings of the building. 

Mr. Dohrman also led the efforts of the CHS Design Team and several architecture and engineering firms to create the design for the future expansion of the Savannah Children’s Museum, to be housed inside the Coach Shop and the adjacent Paint Shops.