Lewis Contractors and The Walters Art Museum Project Honored by Maryland Historical Trust

February 4, 2019 – The Maryland Historical Trust (MHT) hosted the 2019 Maryland Preservation Awards at the Senate Office Building in Annapolis. Lewis’ recently completed $4M renovation and restoration of the 1 West Mt. Vernon Place project for The Walters Art Museum was honored by an award of Project Excellence in Institutional Rehabilitation. In attendance were Kathleen Basham, representing The Walters Art Museum, Tom Liebel from Mosely Architects, and Tyler Tate, president of Lewis Contractors. This is the fifth organization to honor the project with awards—others have been bestowed by the Associated Builders and Contractors of Greater Baltimore (ABC), Baltimore’s Building Congress & Exchange, Baltimore Heritage, and Preservation Maryland.

A video presented by MHT at the Preservation Awards on 1 West Mt. Vernon Place is available here.

Constructed as the first home on Mount Vernon Place in 1850, 1 West Mt. Vernon Place remained continuously occupied until it was gifted to The Walters Art Museum in 1984. The home became a host to a portion of the Walters’ large collection of Asian art. Three decades later, Lewis Contractors was brought on board to install the first water mist fire protection system of its kind within a building in greater Baltimore. In keeping with the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Restoration, and under the guidance of MHT, the system was installed in such a way as to be virtually invisible to guests. The new water mist system is an innovative approach to building fire suppression and utilizes a water mist activated by a sensor system rather than a deluge to extinguish a fire; thereby protecting not only the artwork, but also the historic building itself.

Lewis also totally restored the conservatory where only the roof framing and marble floor remained intact. To the greatest extent possible, historic materials were re-used for the restoration and newly installed materials closely mirror those which had deteriorated. New windows were installed throughout the conservatory, and new storm windows grace the balance of the home to provide thermal efficiency.
The roofs have been replaced, bay window restored, new storm windows installed, cast iron antefix ornaments repaired or replicated if beyond repair, and the historic cast iron window pediments totally restored in situ as a part of this work. Additional repairs to the home’s exterior will be completed under a future contract.

Lewis was also charged with restoring the Ford Gallery, a modified attached extension to the building that was the original carriage house for the home. The gallery work added 10,000 square feet to the project scope and the Lewis team still completed the project without extension to the original completion date. All work was completed in time for the well-publicized grand opening.
The Maryland Preservation Awards, presented annually by the Board of Trustees of the Maryland Historical Trust, are the highest level of recognition for historic preservation, heritage education and community development projects in the state. Since 1975, the Maryland Historical Trust has honored the outstanding preservation efforts of individuals, businesses, contractors, non-profit organizations, local governments and others who protect, promote, share and give continued life to the historic places and cultural heritage that make our great state unique.