Set in the Frederick Law Olmsted-designed Highland Park, Warner Castle is a hidden treasure of Rochester. Built in 1854, this Gothic-styled residence was the home of Rochester attorney and newspaper editor Horatio Gates Warner. Warner designed the house to resemble the ancestral castle of the Clan Douglas, which captivated his fancy during a visit to Scotland. The building is now owned by the Monroe County Parks Department and occupied by the Rochester Civic Garden Center.
Bero Architecture is administering a repointing project at the building. Currently masons Fritz Hopfinger and Mike Needam, Bricklayers Local No. 3, are experimenting with different mortar mixes to ensure that the final design is compatible with the original mortar mix. The sample locations will take almost a week to cure. When preparing mortar key things to consider are:
1)The new mortar should match the original in color, texture, and tooling
2)The sand should match the sand in historic mortar
3) The new mortar must be softer than the masonry
During the preparation of the stone joints for repointing the masons recovered historic backer rod in the form of old newspaper. It was found behind the mortar at the jamb of the basement window. The date of the paper is December 6, 1897.