Historic Structures

Building Description Cambrian Hotel, Jackson Ohio

June 1984

The overall building complex measures approximately 170'-8" in the east-west direction (the long leg of the L-shape), and 75'-6" in the north-south direction. Above the second floor, the hotel building has a 34'-8'" width in the long leg of its L-shape, and a 43'-4" width in the short leg. The overall height, is approximately 75'-6" from first floor to rooftop of cupolas.

The building is structurally divided into three distinct sections with each section having a different structural framing system. The south wing of the hotel, facing Main Street, consists of both wood and steel framing extending from the basement of the former furniture store to the fifth floor level of the hotel. The steel framing is comprised of interior cast-iron pipe columns, located midway between the south exterior wall and an interior masonry wall at the intersection of the east-west wing, and built-up laced channel columns embedded in the south exterior masonry wall. The columns are tied at each floor level by rolled steel beams, spanning approximately 20-feet in the north-south direction. One beam line aligns with the east corridor wall. The other beam line is set into the dwelling units on the west side of the corridor.

At street level, built-up steel columns occur from the foundation level up to the third floor level. The columns were encased with decorative wood pilasters and were generally in sound condition at sidewalk level. Two levels of built-up steel beam lintels span between the columns to support a second floor level above the store front space and the third level living unit floor loads. Masonry pilasters from the third level to the roof also bear on these columns.

The center section of the hotel, consisting of the lobby area and main stairwell and the rooming levels above, is separated from the south wing and the east wing by masonry walls extending the full height of the structure. The masonry walls appear to be acting as both structural shear walls and as fire separations between the three sections of the building. It is within this center section of the building that major structural collapse has occured, from the third floor on up. The position of the masonry shear wall, however, has effectively limited the spread of the collapse into the other two portions of the building because the framing system are isolated within each wing of the structure by the walls. The framing system within this section of the building consists of both steel and wood members. Cast-iron pipe columns extend from the basement floor level to the underside of the third floor construction through a two story lobby space. The columns are aligned in two rows running in an east-west direction and are inset from the perimeter wall face approximately 5-feet. Evidence indicates that a balcony existed at one time around the perimeter of the lobby space between the columns and the exterior walls at an elevation equal to the second floor ballroom/dining room level in the east wing.

Spanning between the pipe columns in a north-south direction at the third floor level are built-up steel beams approximately 22-feet in length. The beams do not extend from the columns to the masonry walls on the north and south sides of the lobby area. Built-up wood beams, possibly flitch plate beams, rest on steel angle seats connected to the ends of the steel beams and extend into the masonry walls. Both the wood and steel beams were not fastened to each other or to the column cap plates, even though holes were provided for rivets or bolts. The dead load of the material above bearing on the beams appears to be the only thing keeping the members in place at this point.

Flitch plate beams span between the steel built-up beams at locations corresponding to the position of 2 x 6 wood stud corridor walls on the third, fourth and fifth floor levels. The direction of floor joists at the upper floor levels indicate that the corridor stud walls are being carried down to the third floor framing via the corridor walls and corresponding flitch plate beams.

The east wing of the hotel is very simular to the center section of the building in that steel columns, built-up of angles and plates, extend the from the foundation level to the third floor construction. In addition, similar to the situation in the lobby area of the center portion of the building, built-up riveted steel beams support the 3rd floor construction in a manner similar to the center portion of the building. This portion of the building has numerous load bearing masonry walls extending in a north-south direction in the basement level of the building. Spanning between the walls in an east-west direction are wood floor joists approximately 2 x 10 or 2 x 12 in dimension. From debris remaining in the various rooms at this level, it suggests that they served the purpose of maintenance shops, laundry facilities, and main boiler room. The elevator machine room was located at this level also. The concrete slab at this level, through the center corridor running in the east-west direction, was split and had heaved up on itself. This condition appeared to be localized in this one area and was not typical throughout the rest of the basement level. The condition of the perimeter stone foundation walls and interior masonry dividing walls was good. Very little evidence of moisture seepage through the walls or deterioration to the mortar joints was observed at this level. The generally good condition of the walls also seemed to indicate that they bear on good sub-soil, possibly a sand rock material that has been suggested by local residents. The only evidence of masonry wall cracking that was found occurred on the exterior face of the east wall of this wing of the building running vertically, generally in line with a series of windows at the stairwell located in this portion of the building.

The steel framing located in this east wing portion of the building appears to be limited to columns located on the Broadway Street elevation of the building buried in masonry pilasters or covered with wood enclosures, and the steel beams previously mentioned spanning from north to south clear across what appeared to be the main dining area or ballroom of the building. The beams connected to the built-up steel column members by means of a bolted connection at the north wall of building, and bear on masonry on the opposite end. The columns at the sidewalk level of this side of the building are in generally good condition, except for two isolated cases where the wood encasement deteriorated allowing moisture attack the steel; one column appeared severely rusted out at the sidewalk level.

The floor construction at the third level and above consists of 2 x 10 wood floor joists framing, extending from the outer walls to 2 x 6 wood stud corridor partitions. These partitions aligned over flitch plate beams visible from the under side of the third floor spanning between the built-up steel beams. The 2 x 6 corridor walls are load bearing from this level up to the roof level. From the evidence of the collapsed portion of the center section of the building, it appears that the roof truss framing bears on the same corridor walls. The condition of the wood floor joists and framing from the third level to the roof in the northeast portion of this wing of the building was very poor.

Sections of the floor at the fifth and fourth levels had completely separated from the exterior wall and collapsed or were very near to collapse due to the effects of water damage which was very heavy in this area because of the construction detailing of the slope gable roof intersecting with the parapet walls at this location. The resultant flow of water down the walls of the building at this point, due to the back-up or stoppage of the roof drains, appeared to be the cause of this damage. The separation of the wood floor framing from the exterior wall resulted in weakening of the window wall infill in these areas, and in fact, certain sections of the window framing have collapsed into the building. Other areas show severe rotting of wood with window units being tilted in toward the building and physically not being connected to the adjacent masonry wall construction. Also, the masonry wall at these locations of water damage was deteriorated and significant bricks have fallen from the wall or are sitting loose within the wall plane. The mortar joints in this area, due to the running of water down the face of the wall, are deeply recessed and washed out by the water. The mortar used on the building typically was observed to be quite granular, giving evidence to the fact that perhaps a disproportionate amount of sand was used in the mixture. This has the affect of creating a very weak material when exposed to the constant presence of moisture. It is interesting to note that the south side of this wing of the building where the roof drains to a gutter experienced very little, if any, damage due to water coming either through the wall or down the wall. The condition of this back wall of the building, both on the south wing and this wing is very good with no evidence of settlement in the wall or deterioration of either brick or mortar joints within the plane of the wall, both inside and out.

The "infill" two-story building is separated from the hotel lobby area at street level by means of a brick wall. It appears that the building was initially designed to be separated from the hotel lobby area and the hotel building proper for the first two levels. Access to this building is only through the street level store front entrance on Main Street or through the rear loading dock area. There does not exist a connection between the hotel building and this store front area at street level.

The space occupied by this building is currently being used for storage of furniture items left over from the previous use of the space as a retail store. The building is approximately the same depth as the hotel in the east-west axis and is 40 feet in width in the north-south direction. The building consists of a full basement, first level that enters from Main Street via the store front, and a partial second level consisting of a rear balcony area that runs approximately one-half the width of the building by its full depth. The front part of the building at Main Street on the second level previously was used as miscellaneous office area and as a beauty salon.

This section of the hotel complex is in relatively good condition. The basement level showed no signs of water damage, foundation settlement or cracking.

The structural frame previously mentioned as existing in the upper floors of the south wing of the hotel was confirmed through measurement of column spacings in the basement of the furniture shop. In addition to the columns extending from upper floors of the hotel, two additional rows of wood columns run in an east-west direction at the quarter points of the width of the basement. The floor framing members are wood joists similar to the construction of the hotel building. At the second level, approximately at the location of the the rear exterior wall of the upper living units of the hotel, there is a built-up riveted steel beam with brick masonry bearing on top of it. This beam spans in a north-south direction and bears at its mid-point on a steel column which carries down to the basement foundation level of this building. The beam is composed of two steel webs fastened to top and bottom plates by steel angles, and the total assembly is riveted together.

The roof over the furniture store is composed of built-up felt roofing membranes over wood sheathing on wood joists. The joists appear to span in the north-south direction bearing on the column line at the mid-point of the building in the same direction. There were several locations in the ceiling directly below the roof level exhibiting water damage, causing the plaster to drop down and the lath to deteriorate and work loose from the bottom of the roof joists. The roof membrane has been punctured in approximately these same areas and is leaking.