Original Proposal of 1851

Transcribed from the Alexandria Gazette and Virginia Advertiser, July 24, 1851
July 22, 1851

Sealed proposals will be received at this office, until 12 o’clock, M., on the 5th day of August, for furnishing materials and constructing a Light House, to be erected on Blackistone’s Island, on the Potomac River, in conformance with a plan which can be seen at this office, and the annexed specifications, with the addition of a second story of nine feet in the clear, with fireplace, chimney and flue, as described in specifications, and to be finished in all respects as first story, excepting that of substituting a window for a door. Specifications for a Light-house and Keeper’s dwelling conjoint, to be erected at Blackistone’s Island on the Potomac River.

The building is to be thirty-eight by twenty feet on the outside. The exterior walls of the house are to be constructed of hard brick, and the interior walls and walls of tower of hard brick, all laid in the best hydraulic cement mortar. Under the whole house is a cellar 6 feet deep in the clear, under the flooring joist of entrance story floor.

The cellar exterior walls, and the exterior walls of the building, are to be fourteen inches thick (a brick and a half) The cellar floor is to be paved with best quality hard paving brick. Doorway to enter cellar from the outside of he building, with steps to go down, stone curb around it, and bulkhead over it to protect it against storms, &c. there will be two windows, of six lights each, 8 by 10 glass, in the cellar. The walls of the house are to be carried up 9 1-6 feet above to of entrance story floor, when the flooring timbers of the attic flooring will be laid on; then carried up 3 feet to the plates where it will receive the rafters. Chimneys at each end, one of which to have a fire-place in one attic chamber, and a funnel pipe for a stove in the other.

The entrance story is divided into two rooms, with an entrance vestibule stairway, &c., of 8 feet between them. The stairs lead from the entrance vestibule attic and lantern; and under them are the stairs leading from the kitchen to the cellar. The space back of the stairway is divided into two closets, on opening to each room, and to be finished with shelves and other necessary conveniences. The attic is divided into two chambers with the tower and stairway between them. In front of the stairway is a closet opening into it, and in rear are two recesses, one opening into each chamber.

All the joists to be of southern pine of good quality. The lower flooring joists are to be 3 by 8 inches, 15 inches apart, and doubled as trimmers, and as a trimming joist at the sides of the hearth and other openings, the joists of the upper floors same size placed 16 inches from center to center The ridge of the roof, to receive the upper end o of the rafters, is to be truss of 7 by 7 inches timber, of sufficient depth and strength too support the roof. The roof is to be rectangular, and have one third pitch; the rafters are to be 3 by 6 inches, 2 feet apart, resting on the plates and ridge, covered with good seasoned inch boards, milled, Jointed, and matched, and well nailed on.

It is to be covered with the best quality Ladies’ slates, laid one-third an inch less than one-third their length to the weather, nailed on and secured to the boarding by the best copper or composition nails for the purpose. In the center of the building is to be a circular tower, 8 feet in diameter on the inside, built on a proper foundation 22 inches wide and 2 feet deep below cellar floor, and up to three feet above the ridge of the house, and there receive a stone coping of one foot rise and, and ten inches projection, of proper width. Its walls are to be connected with the outer walls by thick partition wall 9 inches thick. In the walls will be proper openings for doorways, &c., and for one window in front above the roof of 6 lights, 9 by 12 inches. the opening will have to be secured by arches turned over them, and extra security given to the walls by the insertion of nail plate in the joints of the masonry at the proper intervals and places. The upper end of the tower, forming a deck for the lantern to rest upon, is to be arched over, leaving a proper size opening for a scuttle to enter the lantern. the arch is to be domical arch inches rise. Its thrust to be fully counteracted by an iron bar hoop 1 3/4 inches square, let into the brickwork at the proper height. the arch is to be 8 inches thick at the crown, and the deck is to have a pitch of 6 inches from the centre down to the front edge of the doping or cornice of the tower. The deck 1 to be covered with 20 ounce copper sheathing, laid on a proper surface, prepared by covering the brick work with boarding 1 1/4 inch thick, nailed to timbers let into the brickwork of the tower and secured to it: this boarding to be covered with sheathing paper, thoroughly saturated, with and laid down in tar. On this copper sheathing is to be secured m a thorough manner, with copper or composition nails and also to the front edge of the coping in the most efficient manner. The scuttle door to be covered with copper sheathing, and made tight and secure.

The tower and chimneys will be collared with lead and properly secured with lead or zinc flashings. there will be three windows in each room of the entrance story, and one in each of the chambers, 12 lights each, of 9 by 12 cylinder glass. the, outside door in front will be 3 feet 4 inches by 7 feet 4 inches, 1 1/2 inch thick, four pannels and two frieze lights; the outside door of porch 2 feet by 6 inches by 7 feet 1 1/2 inch, thick, four pannels. In the entrance story are 5 inside doors, 2 feet 8 inches by 7 feet, 1 1/2 inch thick, four pannels. In the attic story are 2 doors, 2 feet 6 by 6 inches, 1 1/2 inch thick, four panels and one to closet, 2 feet 4 inches wide, and as high as roof will admit. On the front door will be a lock, and on all the doors, good hinges, latches, bolts, and fastenings.

The stairway and cross walls above the cellar are to be plastered on the walls; all the rest of the building above the cellar, together with the porch, is to be furred, lathed, and plastered; and finished ina decent manner. All the plastering to be done with 3 coats, last coat hard finished. All the floors are to be laid double, the upper one of the best southern pine.

Stairs of best southern pine are to he constructed from the entrance to the lantern, and from the kitchen to the cellar in a proper manner. steps 1 1/2 inch thick. There are to be stone steps to the front door,also to the outside door of porch.

Attached to the back of the house is frame parch, 12 by 10 feet, with a lean-to roof, boarded and slated. The floor is inches below floor of entrance story, and the room 7 feet high. There is to be one window, 12 lights, by 10 glass. It is to have a proper sink, shelves, & c. There are to be gutters to all the eaves, with trunks to lead the water in the cisterns. All the woodwork of the house, except the floor, to be painted, three coats best quality of paint, stairs oiled with linseed oil.

On the top of the tower is to be a wrought iron lantern, sufficient in height and diameter to contain six lights in each octagon 16 by 24 inches, and two copper panes 12 by 16. In four of the copper panes ventilators are to be constructed to admit the air when required, and to keep out the water. There are to be lantern ports 1 1/2 inch square to run down through the deck and arch, and be tightly secured by bolts to the inside of the tower. To these are secured, in a proper manner, the iron sash with rebates of three-fourths of an inch in depth. A door, 2 by 4 feet, is to ne made on one side of the octagon and which is to be glazed and partly covered with copper, if required, and made to shut tight in to rebates, having tow strong turn buttons and handle. The top of the lantern is a dome formed by 16 rafters of iron, concentrating into an iron hoop 12 inches diameter, 5 inches wide, and one -half inch thick at top, and at the bottom secured to the top rail of lantern, which is covered with 32 ounce copper, coming down and riveting to the top rail of lantern or the sashes, which is 3 inches wide, and forms a favorable termination to it. On the top of this dome is a traversing ventilator and vane, covered with copper; ventilator 15 inches diameter, 20 inches high; vane 30 inches long, 12 inches wide. Around the lantern are to be eight iron railing posts, 1 1/8 square, standing off 22 inches from the outside of the post of the lantern. The lower end to be fastened securely to the deck, and at the top secured to the post of the lantern. Two railings, three-fourth inch round iron, are to go to quite round through these posts. Across the base of the dome is to be an iron bar one inch square, riveted to the upper bar of the sash. Lantern to be glazed with best French, Paris made, plate glass, one-fourth of an inch thick; no pane less that three sixteenths of an inch thick to be allowed to be put in.

The lantern is to be painted three coats black outside and white inside. A copper electrical rod, five eights of an inch diameter is to run up two feet above vane, and from thence down to be inch boards, milled, jointed and matched, the roof hoarded and shingled. The inside finished with proper seats, door, &c. A brick cistern is to be constructed in the cellar to hold one thousand quality and plastered on the inside with the same, and finished with proper pump and lines leading to the sink. The whole to be completed by the first day of December: next to be done in a good, workmanlike manner, of best materials, and every particular to the satisfaction and approval of the undersigned, or such person as he may appoint to inspect the work. JOSEPH EACHES, Collector and Superintendent of Lights.


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