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Bandelier’s Alcove House Restoration Presents Challenge

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Monument > Vanishing Treasures staff is developing a plan of attack

By Arin McKenna

 The kiva at Alcove House has been an iconic feature of Bandelier National Monument since its creation in 1916.
“I would identify Alcove House as one of the signature experiences for Bandelier National Monument. It’s very unique. It’s not an experience you’ll find at other parks,” Bandelier Superintendent Jason Lott said. “It’s been one of the core experiences since the park was established.”
Now concerns about the structural stability of the kiva has prompted park staff to close the feature to insure visitor safety.
Restoring the kiva has been on staff’s radar for some time. Bandelier’s Vanishing Treasures division conducted an in-house condition assessment in 2010. An architectural firm and engineer were hired in the fall of 2011 to develop a design for the stabilization work and the project funding was obtained before sequestration set in.
The project took on a level of urgency on April 10, when Vanishing Treasures staff was conducting an assessment for the stabilization work and discovered that a significant chunk of masonry had come loose and that the structure was being undercut. The kiva is perched on the edge of a 140-foot cliff, reached by climbing four sets of ladders, so the threat is significant.


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