What's So Special About These Bricks?
The original handmade brick used in the construction of “Old 7’s” came from Cedar Bayou Brick in Baytown, a facility that has long since been closed. The bricks were made using two parts topsoil, one part clay, and water from their namesake: Cedar Bayou. In the late 1800s the bricks were transported across the bay on schooners, and were often delivered to building sites using mule-drawn wagons.
The exterior of “Old 7’s” was covered in stucco in the 1930s; one of the preservation goals is to remove the stucco and showcase the original Cedar Bayou brick. This aspect of the restoration will be challenging and costly as it requires the stucco to be chiseled off by hand to properly preserve the brick. The north and south walls have been restored, and efforts will soon commence on the front of the building. The cost of this portion of the preservation is $712,500.
The Museum is fortunate to have several of its original windows. The masonry surrounding the windows needs to be repaired, and the windows also need to be restored. The lead architect for the Houston Fire Museum’s restoration project was able to locate a stockpile of original Cedar Bayou bricks. The windows will be removed and taken off-site for restoration. The bricks surrounding the windows that can be saved will be repointed, and those that are damaged will be replaced with bricks from the found stockpile.