The Oscar Stanton DePriest House

Project Details

Client:The Oscar Stanton DePriest House
Location:Chicago, IL
Year Completed:2019

Project Overview

The renovation of the Oscar Stanton DePriest House in the Bronzeville neighborhood of Chicago was not your typical project. The house, a National Historic Landmark, was the home of Oscar Stanton DePriest. DePriest was the first African American elected to Congress from outside the southern states and the first in the 20th century. He was the only African American serving in Congress during his three terms, which lasted from 1929 to 1935.

The eight-flat brick building, constructed in the late 1800s, was in need of restoration, and its roof was in particularly bad shape. It was one of 39 projects in 20 states funded by the National Parks Service (NPS) as part of an initiative to “preserve and highlight the sites and stories associated with the Civil Rights Movement and the African American experience,” according to the NPS website.

The goal of the project was to keep the visual components of the building as close as possible to their original appearance. In addition to a complete roof replacement, the building also underwent masonry restoration and a rebuild of the original metal-framed wire glass skylight. Ridgeworth recommended trusted subcontractors Steve Bruno of Bruno’s Tuckpointing and Paul Mitoraj from NES Exteriors to conduct this work.

Prior to beginning the project, the Ridgeworth Roofing team worked with an architect to modify the roof specifications to meet the current IECC insulation code and the Chicago roof reflectivity ordinance. Then, after the contracts were awarded, Ridgeworth worked with Bob Grela from RA Grela Associates to secure the building permits and street and sidewalk closure permits required by the City of Chicago. The conditions and logistics of this jobsite were quite challenging  given the location of the building, which is on the inner drive of Martin Luther King Drive, but with the appropriate permits and closures, all went smoothly.

As the project progressed, more challenges arose, but the experts onsite handled each with professional skill and ease. Bruno’s Tuckpointing resolved the many unexpected masonry issues that they discovered throughout the course of the project. While the NES crew was removing the skylight, it nearly fell into itself, but they handed the situation skillfully, got the skylight safely off the building, and then completely rebuilt and reglazed it to better than new.

The roof presented its own challenges. The original roof system, still in place, was overlaid approximately six separate times. To reduce the amount of dust stirred up throughout the project, the Ridgeworth team used a crane to lower all debris to the ground and raise all new materials to the work area on the roof. The roof-related architectural sheet metal required some changes, but Tom Brueck at Metal Edge was able to complete this work with no disruption to the project schedule. Ridgeworth Roofing installed a new Johns Manville TPO roof system, which will provide the Oscar Stanton DePriest Home with watertight protection for years to come. This logistically challenging project was a great success due to the collaboration and cooperation of the entire project team. The Ridgeworth team is proud to have been a part of it.