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A Different Type of Facelift in Greenwich

A Wernert Construction crew readies a new column for installation at Greenwich Town Hall. Photo credit: Barbara Heins.
A Wernert Construction crew readies a new column for installation at Greenwich Town Hall. Photo credit: Barbara Heins.

It's not surprising there are plenty of surgeons in Greenwich who are experts in performing facelifts.

There was a rather public facelift this week in Greenwich, and it took a different type of expert to perform.

The three-story Georgian Revivial style Greenwich Town Hall built in 1925 on Field Point Road has six load-bearing columns adorning the entrance. And when crews repainted the columns last summer, they discovered four of the columns were rotting.

The town's building superintendent Alan Monelli said the hollow wooden columns provide support for the roof. 

Monelli said he was surprised by the amount of rot in the columns and the decision was made to replace them. "We very carefully took profiles of each column and had exact duplicates made," Monelli said.

"It was an emergency situation," he added.

Monelli said the new columns will have ventilation openings — something the old columns didn't have and most likely caused the rot. He said it was unclear whether the columns were original to the building.

The project to remove the old columns and then prepare and lift the new ones into place was performed by Wernert Construction of Greenwich. "It's not an easy thing to build and come up with a way to replace them," Monelli said.

As workers placed padding and straps around the columns this week, many visitors to Town Hall stopped to snap photos with their cellphones. The front entrance was closed and visitors had to use a side entrance.

The total project cost was $60,000 and crews should have the site cleaned up by Jan. 21, Monelli said.

Monelli said the columns will be painted in the spring.

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