I was honored when Short Slate was hired to replace and repair the slate roof of the Bailey Mansion located at 150th Street and St. Nicholas Place in New York City's upper Harlem. This historic treasure was begun in 1886 and was completed two years later, as the residence for James A. Bailey of Barnum & Bailey circus fame. It's a dramatic limestone castle, complete with turrets, Flemish-inspired gables, porches, balconies, 66 windows – and a complicated slate roof that was in dire need of repair following years of standing empty. My team and I restored the roof to its original Victorian design patterns, with copper valleys, intricate cresting and an impressive copper finial (to replace the original, which had been blown off in a storm a few years earlier).
We approached the Bailey Mansion project with a deep respect for its history and we were committed to getting it right. Fortunately, the mansion's new owners shared that commitment, and really wanted to restore the building to the grand residence that it once was. (The house had been a combination home and funeral parlor for decades.) We did a lot of homework up front, pouring over historic photos and researching details of the architect S.B. Reed's work, and worked closely with the husband and wife owners to create a roof that reflected the opulence and luxury of Victorian New York City.