They also have to wash off the filth, which covers everything, without staining the bricks below. A crew of eight Cornerstone employees work at their supervision.
“We looked at each other the other day and said, ‘How can we think this is fun?,’ but it is,” Lawson said. “It’s so much fun, to put something together that’s such a big part of history.”
Said Mason, “It’s an honor to be given this opportunity, to be down there and do things right.
“You’ve to have a certain patience in this field,” Mason added. “You know you’re not just tearing out old material and putting it in a landfill somewhere, but making sure it’s around for another 100 years.”
The local team carries on a legacy that began in the 1870s when the Old South Meeting House became the first building in the country to be spared from the wrecking ball because of its historic significance. Built as a Puritan meetinghouse in 1729, it had been slated for demolition until a group of determined residents rallied support and funds for its preservation. The museum, which opened in 1877, remains open throughout the project despite mesh and scaffolding.
“There are always people staring at us,” Lawson said, chuckling. “I’m constantly waving at kids on field trips.”
Lawson started DGL Carpentry in 2003, after more than a decade as the lead carpenter at a Georgetown residential and commercial remodeling company. He has over the years been involved in several high-end residential renovations in Newburyport, Amesbury, and Strawbery Banke in Portsmouth, N.H.
Mason honed his craft as an apprentice of David Webb, another preservation carpenter in Newbury. Some of Mason’s more notable local projects include the replacement of windows at the Custom House Maritime Museum in Newburyport and the restoration of two brick Georgian homes on Federal Street.