Published October 27, 2012
Tenino mason will help preserve history on 2 fading monumentsCHELSEA KROTZER
After seeing two monuments erected to celebrate the states centennial so dilapidated, Tenino stone cutter Keith Phillips took action. The monuments, one in the Grand Mound area and the other in front of the historic Brewer Home off Guava Street in Rochester, were placed in 1989, along with others statewide marking historical sites. Phillips noticed one monument’s poor shape nearly three years ago while out on a walk with his wife. “It wasn’t done properly to begin with,” said Phillips, of Hercules Stone Quarry. “With the water, freeze and thaw and improper mortar, it failed and the stones fell right off.” One of the only things still attached to the monument was a plaque with information about the centennial project. It also stated that Puget Sound Power and Light Co., a predecessor to Puget Sound Energy, partially funded the monument. Keith contacted PSE and is receiving funding refurbish the monuments. “We are here, our name is on it and we want to take care of it,” said Casey Cochrane, spokesperson for PSE. PSE’s $4,000 grant will go to a citizen group in Rochester that will pay Phillips to do the work. “He’s got the designs all done and we are getting the funding over to the folks in Rochester, and he’s going to start working on them really soon,” Cochrane said. “It’s pretty labor-intensive … you are dealing with stone and you want it to look good and to last.” Phillips is guessing the work will take two to three weeks to complete. He has been a stone mason since the early 1980s. “It looked like an opportunity to make something nice that needed to be nice,” said Phillips, who is also a member of the South Thurston County Historical Society. “I really care for our public spaces and our history we have in this area.” Phillips will extend the footing of the monuments by 7 inches and add reinforcements. He also plans to replace the crumbing mortar with stone masonry mortar after cleaning the stones, and to install granite copings and a cap to stop any water from damaging the mason work.