African House HOPE Crew
The project to restore the timber-framed roof of African House, a National Historic Landmark structure and named a National Trust for Historic Preservation National Treasure was recently completed and this album documents the project. The work was conducted by youth working through the National Trust’s HOPE Crew, guided by master timber framers and preservation experts from NCPTT.

African House is a historic timber and low-fired brick building located at Melrose Plantation which is presently owned by Association for the Preservation of Historic Natchitoches. Melrose Plantation began in 1796 as the Louis Metoyer Plantation and is located south of Natchitoches, Louisiana. Melrose Plantation has a long history with several key time periods. It was originally cultivated by a member of the Metoyer family. Marie Therese Coin-Coin, who is the matriarch of the creole Metoyers, and her descendants established the Cane River Creole community which is still a vibrant community today.

For decades, African House has been held in triage state of stabilization–strong structural loads inherent in the the large pyramidal roof design and the effects of weathering compromised the hand-hewn Cypress timbers that make up the frame. To stabilize the frame, shoring was installed under the four corners of the eaves. A tarp covered the rotten split-shake roofing until funds could raised for its restoration. Together, the stabilization efforts dramatically altered the historic appearance of the one-of-a-kind building.
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