J. DOERR COMPANY offers building restoration services in the Greater Lehigh Valley and nearby areas. We restore historic properties with the utmost care to ensure beautiful results that stay true to the original design. The many successful projects we have done for non-profit organizations are proof of our outstanding craftsmanship.
We were hired by the John Updike Society in 2015 to develop, manage, and execute a multi-phased restoration of the childhood residence of the two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning American author. The Victorian dwelling, built by Shillington founder Samuel Shilling, was the young author’s home from 1932 to 1945. The formative childhood and adolescent years Updike spent in the home served as the inspiration behind many of his most notable short stories and novels, including the iconic “Rabbit” series.
J. DOERR COMPANY was charged with the task of carefully returning the altered residence to its appearance during the period of the author’s occupancy. This was done by both analyzing physical evidence of missing or altered architectural features and interpreting the author’s own written recollections of the home’s early appearance and function. The restored residence will serve the programmatic and interpretive goals of the John Updike Society in preserving the author’s rich literary legacy and presenting it to the visiting public.
During the course of the work, the house was determined eligible for the National Register of Historic Places. The project’s Phase I: Interior Restoration is complete. Phases II and III were scheduled for the spring of 2017.
Learn more about the John Updike Society and the ongoing restoration.
The John Taylor Leigh Mansion is a large 19-room brick Italianate mansion that was repurposed and enlarged with a rear addition in the 1980s to serve as the Town of Clinton Municipal Building. R. J. DOERR COMPANY was commissioned in 2016 to execute a comprehensive exterior rehabilitation guided by plans prepared by Eclectic Architecture of Phillipsburg, NJ.
Work included the restoration of the structure’s wooden character-defining features, including its ornate full-width front porch, window and door surrounds, deep bracketed eaves, roof cornice, and central rooftop belvedere. Roofing, gutters, and spouting were replaced in select locations, and deteriorated masonry was addressed with limited repointing.
The building is located in the heart of the Clinton Historic District and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
As home to one of New Jersey’s oldest religious communities and its oldest Lutheran congregation, Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church is a cultural and architectural landmark. The church, completed in 1750, was remodeled on three occasions in the 19th century, which accounts for its current eclectic stylistic appearance today. The church is identified by its roughcast stucco-on-fieldstone construction, flush board sided and pedimented gable front that features wood pilasters, an elaborate door surround with Georgian Gothic transom, and classically inspired entablature.
R. J. DOERR COMPANY was commissioned in 2010 to execute a full exterior restoration of the historic church building. Work was carried out to repair failing stucco as well as restore deteriorated windows, shutters, doors, and architectural millwork.
The project was guided by John E. Bolt Architects of Clinton, NJ, and funded through public and private contributions. Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church is listed on the New Jersey and National Register of Historic Places.
The Van Nest-Hoff-Vannatta Farmstead is located on a seven-acre property in Harmony Township, Warren County, NJ. The property, lying alongside Belvidere Road (County Route 519), was originally part of a much larger parcel first settled c. 1763. The property and its six historic structures were acquired in 2001 by the state of New Jersey with Green Acre Funds and listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2005. The farmstead’s ongoing restoration is the work of the Harmony Township Historical Society with professional assistance by Eclectic Architecture, LLC.
R. J. DOERR COMPANY was commissioned in 2013 to complete the relocation of two long-neglected 19th-century wagon houses, then standing adjacent to and imperiled by highway traffic of Route 519. The process of relocation entailed stone foundation reconstructions, the execution of extensive repairs to the structures’ failing timber frames, siding replacement, the replication of deteriorated doors, windows, and architectural hardware. The project was funded in part by the Warren County Municipal and Charitable Conservancy Trust.
Learn more about the Van Nest-Hoff-Vannatta Farm.
The restoration of the Nain-Schober House was a multi-phased project that began in 2001, with the completion of an historic structure report commissioned by the Moravian Museum of Bethlehem to chart a course for this unique historic resource’s long-term preservation. The small log house is the last remaining home from the American Indian mission village of Nain, which existed from 1758 to 1763 near 12th and 13th Avenues in West Bethlehem. When the settlement was disbanded, the structure was purchased by Andreas Schober and relocated to the center of Bethlehem, where it became one of the religious community’s earliest single-family dwellings in 1765. It was again moved to its current location in 1906.
Phase I restoration work included a variety of structural repairs that included the replacement of numerous deteriorated log components and the repair of the timber of the 250-year-old house’s hewn timber roof frame. The current project phase will restore the house’s exterior to its unique c. 1780 appearance when it was occupied by the Schober family.
The completed work will re-establish the dwelling’s 18th-century clay tile roof, kicked-eaves, and parged walls rendered to imitate coursed masonry. The restored house will also feature period millwork and distinctive Moravian style ironwork. Future phases will complete the restoration of the structure’s interior. The project is funded with private donations and grants from the Delaware and Lehigh National Heritage Corridor and the Pennsylvania Heritage Parks Program.
Featured in The Moravian Magazine
The Roseberry Homestead restoration was a multi-phased project initiated with work performed by R. J. DOERR COMPANY in the spring of 2011. The project’s first phase, guided by Eclectic Architecture, LLC, targeted high-priority items necessary to begin the process of reversing decades of neglect that had greatly diminished one of Phillipsburg’s oldest residences.
Commissioned by the Phillipsburg Area Historical Society and funded in part with a grant from the Warren County Municipal and Charitable Conservancy, the initial scope of work included the stabilization and repair of the stone structure’s exterior envelope to both secure the premises and seal the building to the weather. Many of the old home’s 30 masonry openings were carefully disassembled and rebuilt, and their timber frames were either restored or replicated in-kind. 36 new window sashes were fabricated to match the deteriorated originals.
Phase I work also included establishing electrical service to the house. Future work will address other exterior components, including the reconstruction of the house’s missing 18th-century front porch and the restoration of the landmark home’s interior finishes.
Built around 1790 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973, this distinguished late-Georgian/early-Federal-style stone structure is the future home of the Phillipsburg Area Historical Society.
Moravian Smithy was reconstructed between October 2002 and June 2004. The project originated with archival research and archaeological fieldwork carried out in the 1970s and resumed in the 1990s by Historic Bethlehem as part of the organization’s $10 million “Window on Main Street” capital campaign.
The scope of work performed by R. J. DOERR COMPANY was broad, including all phases of the project, from its initial site work to the installation of its distinctive period millwork. The Smithy was recreated in exacting detail and is faithful to its predecessor in its construction, appearance, and function.
The reconstructed workshop includes over 250 tons of locally salvaged native limestone and now blends seamlessly with the Germanic styling of the surrounding 18th-century architectural core of downtown Historic Bethlehem. The structure is outfitted with fully functional blacksmith and locksmith shops, including coal-fired forges and leather bellows. The Moravian Smithy serves its owner, Historic Bethlehem Partnership, as a living history venue for interpreting 18th-century trades in colonial-era Bethlehem.
The project was funded through public and private contributions. Plans for the reconstruction were prepared by David Scott Parker Architects in consultation with the historic trades staff of Colonial Williamsburg and the architectural staff of Old Salem Museums and Gardens.
The Bachmann Publick House Restoration was a two-phased project carried out between 1999 and 2001. During that time, Easton’s oldest building was reclaimed from years of neglect and restored to its late-18th-century grandeur. Built by Jacob Bachman in 1753, the property served a variety of important civic functions in the city’s early history. The structure retains about 70% of its original material and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The restoration, funded by both public and private donors, was based upon an historic structure report and architectural documentation prepared by the Martinson Group, Inc. The scope of work performed by R. J. DOERR COMPANY was broad, from structural remediation to finish detail. Mechanical and electrical systems were completely renewed, while structural components were repaired, replaced in-kind, or otherwise stabilized. Architectural finishes, both exterior and interior, were completely restored or replaced in-kind as necessary.