Fort Chadbourne began restoration in 2001 with the Enlisted Men’s Barracks (east). An original grant from the Dodge Jones Foundation made this possible. A historical architect was called in to assess the conditions of the buildings. In his opinion, especially the Enlisted Men’s Barrack, it would require the crumbling walls that were still standing, to be disassembled, and new walls erected.
To Garland Richards this was not an option. A decision was made to stabilize and reconstruct the original walls using an old method of braces and turnbuckles. By holding the walls in place, where they could no longer fall, the walls could be repositioned and straightened preserving what the 1850 soldiers and stone masons had built. The idea worked, and Richards was awarded the 2003 Preservation Texas Award.
After the rock walls were stable, a bladder pump was used to pressure the mortar in around the rocks.The old mortar was analyzed, and it was found that by adding a little extra Portland cement, it would make the mixture stronger. Part of the original problem with the walls crumbling was rodents digging out the mortar. With a stronger substance, this would no longer be a problem.
Once the walls were in place on the barracks, the Officer’s Quarters required the same method. Once that building was completed, there was money left from the original grant the Dodge Jones Foundation had provided. The remaining funds were offered back to the Dodge Jones Foundation, but they allowed Fort Chadbourne to continue the restoration, and a roof was then added to the Enlisted Men’s Barracks completing the restoration.
*The west barracks was stabilized, but left in a ruin state for comparison.
*The original quarry and lime kiln used in the 1850s was located near the Fort. The rock used to reconstruct the buildings was quarried near-by, leaving the original quarry intact.