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Lyman Museum & “This New House” Offer Weekend Lesson in Building Materials

October 24, 2010
Lyman Mission House Annex

Mission House Annex plaster

When we toured the historic koa cabin at the Hakalau Refuge Open House last Saturday, the guide mentioned an old painted door that she thought was on display at the Lyman Museum in Hilo. Yesterday, we stopped by to see if we could find it and to see the recently completed Annex, a new addition to the Mission House tour.

The Lyman Mission House and Annex

Built in 1845, the Annex is an additional wing of the 1839 Mission House, which is on the State and National Registers of Historic Places. The Lyman House is also the oldest standing wood structure on the Island of Hawaii and one of the oldest in the State.

On the tour, we learned a little about the lime plaster that covered the walls of the house before an earthquake in 1868 caused it to crack and fall off. The guide also explains what Sarah Lyman did after the earthquake to “repair” the walls. Cool stuff, if you’re into old plantation-style houses!

If you’re really into understanding the old-style building methods, you’ll love going up into the attic, where you can knock on the ohia wood beams and compare the density of the beams used in 1839  to that of the Douglas fir beams that were added in 1856 when an addition was made to the house.

“This New House” – Comparing 2010 to 1839

DIY Network This New House

In This New House, a new magazine-style series on DIY Network, co-hosts Amy Matthews and This Old House’s Kevin O’Connor bring viewers inside homes across the U.S. that feature innovative building materials, techniques and gadgets.

I’ve been a long-time fan of This Old House but had no idea until this morning that there is a series on the DIY Network focusing on new home construction. The episode that was on today caught my attention because of its focus on rainwater catchment, which is very common here on the Big Island. I checked the website to see if the full episode is there (it is) and ended up watching several other clips.

Since we just did a post on the clarkhawaii.com blog titled Soon-To-Be LEED Certified Home Tour in Waimea, one segment, explaining how home builders can earn points for LEED certification, was especially interesting. Take a look at my co-worker Juanita’s post to see  a video from the US Green Building Council explaining the benefits of green building.

The Koa Door–Still a Mystery

We didn’t find the painted koa door on display at the Museum yesterday, but what a fascinating contrast between the ohia beams and lime plaster of the Lyman Mission House and the building techniques being used today–a lot of building information for one weekend!

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. October 24, 2010 2:58 pm

    Oh boy… This Old House. I was once a rabid fan. So much that I once wrote for a Norm Abrams fan site.

    Check out this page where I describe meeting Kevin, Rich, Tommy, and Roger:
    http://www.newwookiee.com/story/Meet_This_Old_House_In_Boston_60062.asp

    and me with the Kevin and Tommy:
    http://www.newwookiee.com/gallery/toh25/image42.asp

    I still have my signed Silva brothers shirt. It’s framable.

    This new DIY show makes me want to get cable but I’m not sure I can restart the obsession from so far away from New England.

    -Eric

    • October 24, 2010 3:15 pm

      Pretty cool Eric!

      Regarding getting cable: if we end up as neighbors, you and Jackie will have an open invitation to come over to watch the show. We’ll DVR it and make it an event. 😉

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