Been busy for the past month. Started a new project - interesting, but demanding. The project is the processing of acollection of architectural plans designed by one of the most important earlyarchitects in the West Texas region. His name is David S. Castle and he opened his architectural office inAbilene, Texas in 1915. During hislong career he designed many of the municipal buildings, courthouses,commercial buildings, churches, and residences throughout the West Texasregion. When he died his son, also an architect,closed the family business and moved elsewhere. Before he left town he gave the plans from the Abilene office to theTittle Luther Architectural firm. They have preserved these important papers since the 1950s.
Ourgoal is to organize, inventory, and clean these papers so they can bedigitized. They have been housedin an unheated storage shed in either metal or cardboard canisters. The plans are drawn on a variety ofmaterial - linen, tracing paper, vellum (waxy feeling coated paper, not calfskin). The collection is large ( over 700 separate sets of plans) and has been touched only briefly during the 50years the material has been in storage. (The earliest set of plans so far dates to 1916- thirty years afterAbilene was founded) Processingthe collection is a challenge because of the size of the individual pieces andtheir condition. Dealing withmaterial that is as large as 38” by 42” and is coated with resin is a little like wrestlingslippery fish. Learning the best method for handling, cleaning, and flattening the material safely and organizing it following the original order hasbeen interesting and I will use other blogs to describe what we have learned aswe learn it. We only have one moreweek of work so I’m taking a brief break from this blog for the holidays. More in2015 on archives, preservation, and architectural drawings and maybe fish.