Historic Carnegie Library re-roofed with authentic tile from original source

Tuesday, October 22, 2013
Eagle First Roofing crews from McCook and Lincoln re-roof the historic Carnegie Library in McCook. Jorge Cano, left, assisted by Valentine Martinez, cut valley pieces. (Dusty Rieck/Courtesy Photo)

McCOOK, Nebraska -- Eagle First roofing crews from McCook and Lincoln have re-roofed the historic Carnegie Library in downtown McCook.

The $100,000 project will keep the Carnegie viable for many years to come, according to officials of the Museum of the High Plains, which owns and maintains the 106-year-old library.

To keep the Carnegie's designation on the National Registry of Historic Places, red clay tiles damaged in a wind storm in 2011 would have to replaced with historically-correct tile. The tiles were embossed with "Ludowici," what appeared to be a model and patent numbers from 1889 and 1903.

On the ground, Antonio Tovar used a bath saw to cut the tiles. (Courtesy photo)

After a lot of research and much to their surprise and delight, Adam Cunningham and Dusty Rieck of Eagle First found that the manufacturer of the original tiles -- Ludowici Roof Tiles -- was still in business, with plants in Ohio and Missouri.

Although Ludowici had to readjust its modern drying procedure for the older-style three-quarter-inch-thick hand-packed tiles, 23,000 pounds of new tiles were delivered to the library in July.

Starting in early October, Eagle First's crews -- specially trained for tile installations -- removed all of the old tiles, salvaging undamaged pieces.

They installed the new tiles on the west, the front, of the library, and reset tiles on the east roof, replacing damaged tiles with undamaged tiles from the west side.

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