nerding out at the Cobb house

back in July when i was in Athens to get my hairs cut and have dinner with RT, we walked by the TRR Cobb house which was moved back to its hometown during my last semester at UGA. It has now been fully restored, landscaped and is a house museum in-progress as the curators work at furnishing it. It was evening and no one was home when RT and i peeked in the windows of this funky pink monstrosity. The re-relocation of the TRR Cobb house has earned a fair share of protests from it’s bold hue to the fact that Mr. Thomas Reade Rootes Cobb is probably “best known for his treatise on the law of slavery titled An Inquiry into the Law of Negro Slavery in the United States of America (wiki). We’ll get to the pink color later.

So, the house, located originally at 195 Prince Ave was originally built in the 1830s as a basic I-house, in the 1840s it was added onto by TRR who was apparently making plenty of money as a lawyer and probably a little from his father-in-law as well (lumpkin) who gave him and Marion Lumpkin the house at their marriage.

The building was put on the National Register in the 1970s and in the 1980s, was moved to Stone Mtn Park where it was slated to be restored and become part of the Antebellum Village. This never happened however and it sat in the woods, mothballed, for 20 years. When they moved it back to Athens (you have to watch this clip and rebuilding timelapse!!). For probably the last 100+ years the house was white, typical antebellum house color of choice. But back before the Civil War (because TRR Cobb was fatally wounded early on), one of the Cobb’s young daughters, Lucy, died and there was a painting done of her with the house, in full octagonal pepto-bismal regalia. I kind of like it (:

for a good brief history but more thorough than mine go to the TRR Cobb House site.

But I need to get to the point of why I am writing this post at all. When RT and I approached the sparklingly clean building (a pressure-washer sign out front indicated it’d just been cleaned) the first thing we noticed was the horrid state of the sidewalk. Newly laid of course and not historic (thank goodness i guess), the surface of the bricks was chipping like crazy. I couldn’t help it, i took pictures, wondered why it was like that and put the thought aside. A week later however, at the GA Trust I came across the word “spalling” and looked it up:
“Spalling is the deterioration of concrete by crumbling or flaking. The main cause of spalling is water. When brick is exposed to water consistently, some of the water is absorbed through the porous material of the brick. When this water freezes and thaws repeatedly, it causes the brick to fall apart.
Other sources of spalling are high pressure washing, water hitting the wall directly by driving rains, water from downspouts, gutters and roofs and water seeping up from the soil.”

it is funny how things come together sometimes. Also, in class (i couldn’t help it, i shared the pics) Ed point out that it looked like those bricks probably were not made to be surface bricks anyway and i’m betting he’s right. In any case, I guess they won’t be pressure washing that sidewalk again!

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