Pompion Hill Chapel

ca. 1763 Berkeley County, South Carolina

This mid-18th century parish chapel was experiencing serious foundation and roof structure problems.  Movement created by the unstable clay soil had caused serious damage to the lower masonry walls and foundation. The installation of a slate roof in the 1840s on a roof structure designed for wood shakes was causing significant stress on the upper masonry walls. These two unrelated structural problems had to be addressed to prevent further damage and possible building failure. The roof trusses were strengthened by a new wooden system, designed by engineer Craig Bennett, that attached to the historic truss system to restrain the outward thrust created by the additional weight of the slate. After studying many complex and intrusive options for the foundation repair, a very simple solution was selected to stabilize the soil. A simple drip irrigation system was installed at the base of the foundation to keep the unstable clay hydrated so that it could no longer dry out and shrink. A french drain system was installed above the irrigation system to remove any excess water that might be retained. The unusual exterior color scheme is based on paint analysis by Dr. Susan Buck who uncovered the original interior and exterior colors.