“That was pretty exciting,” Zehmer said. “We found in the attic some of the actual batten strips, and they matched the drawings. We could see the fastener patterns for that batten roof that Bonnycastle had designed.”
“It’s hard to know how well the roof performed, but a quick look at the Historic Structures Report shows the next roof replacement was in the mid-1870s,” said Brian E. Hogg, senior historic preservation planner at the Office of the Architect for the University. “That’s not a bad lifespan for a metal roof.”
Zehmer said there was a discussion about restoring Bonnycastle’s roof as part of the current renovation, but that was rejected because of what it would add to the cost. Instead, W.A. Lynch Roofing Co. Inc. of Charlottesville will replace the current standing-seam roof that was probably first installed in the mid-20th century.
“It would have been very expensive; probably a $200,000 change order,” Zehmer said. “But the research is done and that does not preclude someone from doing it sometime in the future if they make that decision.”
The sections of the original Jeffersonian serrated roof are encapsulated in the attic of the building, as are some of the pieces of the Bonnycastle roof.