Carriage house dome in West York: ‘What’s there will last for 100 years … 200 years’

copper_300

Work is under way on the roof and dome of the old Helb Mansion carriage house, now occupied by Pace Resources, parent of engineering and architectural firm Buchart Horn-/BASCO Associates. The carriage house, 40 S. Richland Ave., has remained standing despite demolition of its accompanying mansion long ago. (Additional picture from the York Daily Record/Sunday News below.) Background posts (involving Buchart-Horn): Yo, Yoe never was Yohe and Original WSBA station hands mic to demolition team.

Pace Resources is involved in a high-profile rehab project on its unsung headquarters, built in the old Helb Mansion carriage house.

The company occupies another often-overlooked historic structure in the west part of York. In the mid-1990s, the company consolidated its engineering and architectural offices in the old York Corporation-Borg-Warner manufacturing site on West Philadelphia Street and Roosevelt Avenue… .


copper1Cutting copper to top off the old carriage house.

Buchart-Horn/BASCO Associates became an anchor tenant in what became known as the York County Industrial Plaza, a vast improvement over the complex of deteriorating industrial buildings.
The company’s efforts have clearly preserved the old carriage house, as well. A York Daily Record/York Sunday News story on renovation work to the parent company’s headquarters, few blocks away in the old carriage house follows:

Two hundred years of York construction history later, and the best material for some jobs is still good, old-fashioned copper.
Heidler Roofing of Spring Garden Township is making a good business out of combining sheet metalworking skills with roofing skills.
Rodger Young, superintendent of the construction company, said many businesses in urban areas want something to match the old-fashioned aesthetics of their surrounding architecture.
One of its projects is at York-based Pace Resources, 40 S. Richland Ave., where Heidler is installing a copper dome and weather vane it fabricated from scratch.
The company is headquartered in the old carriage house that was built with the Helb Mansion, which was torn down during the Great Depression. The site is now the home of a gas station, but its architecture survives at the carriage house.
Gene Schenck, spokesman for Pace, said the building had many incarnations since the 1930s, including a dairy barn and ice cream parlor.
Schenck said Heidler chose copper for the dome material, replacing the old clay tile shingles. Young said copper is still about the longest-lasting roofing material out there.
“What’s there now will last for 100 years,” Young said, hesitating a second. “200 years,” he added.
Heidler also fabricated the weather vane from scratch using the old art of planishing.
“The kind of art you don’t see anymore,” Young said.
The work has earned Heidler several large projects, notably the Baltimore Basilica, dubbed America’s oldest basilica.
Schenck said he and Pace are excited about the project and hope the dome can one day become a York landmark, even after it turns green, like the Statue of Liberty.
He said the color should go well with the standard brown shingles placed on the rest of the carriage-house roof.
Young said it is hard to tell how long it will take for the roof to turn colors; pollution in the 1960s and 1970s would have made it a matter of months, or one or two years.
Today, it might be longer, he said.

BY THE NUMBERS
Some facts about the building at Pace Resources in York, formerly the Helb Mansion carriage house, and the company working on its dome:
— Approximate number of copper tiles: 360
— Year carriage house was built, along with Helb Mansion: 1893
— Year mansion was torn down: 1930
— Year Heidler Roofing began: 1959
— Years until dome turns green from oxidation: unknown
See blogger Scott Butcher’s definitions for domes and other architectural features in the post: Of Cupolas & Domes, Towers & Turrets.

About Jim McClure

Editor of the York Daily Record/Sunday News, ydr.com and its many digital products. East Region Editor, Digital First Media. Journalism/history blogger: yorktownsquare.com. Author or co-author of seven York County, Pa., history books.
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