USPS Cincinnati Headquarters

Built in 1933 by a famed local architect, this Art Deco-style building with a bold stone façade was meticulously restored for a total of approximately 225,000 SF.

Designed by Samuel Hannaford & Sons (the same firm that gave Cincinnati both City and Music Hall), the Cincinnati Post Office on Dalton Avenue has been a part of the city’s rich history for nearly a century. The Art Deco-style building with a bold stone façade was meticulously restored on the north, west, and south elevations for a total of approximately 225,000 SF.

This facility serves as the Cincinnati Processing and Distribution Center and handles mail for 51 counties: 34 in Ohio, 12 in Kentucky, and 5 in Indiana.

Learn more about another high capacity facility that maintained operations throughout repairs. 

The problem

This historical, 85-year old building was showing its age. The parapet wall was leaking, causing deterioration in the stone on the north, west, and south elevations

The team referenced old photos of the construction of the building. SSRG emulated the original installation system, with important modernizations. The team used a window crane system on the roof of the building and used a two-man boom life and oversize lull to move the stone. The stone would be clamped and boomed up the crane, then switched to workers in the scaffold who would keep it steady and then set the stone. Only one stone could be lifted at a time.

There were 320 pieces of stone, and 80 medallion ornate special stones that would appear every so often, making 400 stones total that needed to be replaced. Scope also included a comprehensive window replacement of 292 windows comprised of 59 different types. All repairs needed to be performed while this bustling center maintained daily operations.

The fix

Prior to beginning restoration, SSRG conducted environmental testing to get a baseline due to the lead and asbestos present. This information drives the controls of what is used for demolition. The nearly $7MM scope included:

  • Replacement of 5,000 SF of Berea sandstone panels, each weighing about 800 lbs per piece.
  • Stone patching for remaining deteriorated Berea sandstone panels.
  • Cleaning of the 68,000 SF facade. 100% replacement of historic windows on all elevations.
  • Replacing stone involved carefully coordinating removal, stocking and setting procedures that occurred 95 feet in the air above an active loading dock.
  • Tuckpointing of all existing stone masonry joints.
  • Installation of helifix anchors throughout entire facade. These anchors help secure existing Berea sandstone that remained where prior steel anchors had deteriorated and rusted away.
  • New stone window header replacement throughout.
  • New steel lintel installation at various openings to reinforce where former structure deteriorated and failed.
  • Restoration of granite stone at base of facade around perimeter of building.
  • Stone consolidation application over all 68,000 SF.

When the project began, the crew only removed 5 stones a day for the first two weeks. Thankfully, a team member proposed an idea to speed things along by drilling a hole into the stone and using straps to remove it. This solution was tested and found to be the most practical. Crews drilled a 2” hole into the stone, slid straps into the hole, and then used the hoist to remove it. Once this process started, the team removed an average of 15 stones per day. When it was time to set the new stone, the team averaged 15 – 20 per day. SSRG brought in a local general contractor to lead the large-scale window replacement.

This project received the 2020 Award of Excellence in Construction from ABC Ohio Valley Chapter

Explore another award-winning historic renovation.

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