El Portal Residence 705 National Lead Company Stabilization
In 2006 the park's History, Architecture and Landscapes Branch of the Resources Management & Science Division submitted a proposal for stabilization funds for the house that successfully competed for funding from the Historic Structures Stabilization Fund of the NPS Cultural Resources Preservation Program (CRPP).
The amount approved by the CRPP for fiscal year 2007 for this effort is $101,000. As many of the following tasks are to be accomplished in 2007, with available funds, as possible. Estimates are currently being sought for the health and safety elements of the project, namely the mitigation of asbestos-containing materials and lead-based paint.
1) Asbestos and lead: existing asbestos-containing mastic under a portion of the floor tile (likely only in one bathroom) and some pipe covering will be removed by a licensed contractor. Original siding in salvageable condition will be scraped/sanded and repainted. If the siding lacks integrity, it will be removed and replaced in kind.
2) Roof: the original roof is failing and will be replaced in-kind using historically appropriate materials that are a suitable shape and color.
3) Foundations: approximately 3/4 of the existing foundation will be replaced with a new foundation (this work will include archeological monitoring).
4) Interior work: the interior water-damaged wall and ceiling surfaces will be removed and replaced. Likely this will have to be a future phase.
Work to complete the structure to make it habitable (floors, windows, doors, interior finishes, and utilities) will be accomplished in a future phase. A definitive estimate of probable cost has not yet been completed for the balance of the work. An educated guess places the cost for the balance of work at between $250,000 and $350,000. The goal is to continue acquiring funding from CRPP and other sources that the park deems suitable to apply for. Other potential sources of funds for accomplishing the comprehensive rehabilitation of the house will continuously be sought as well.
The National Lead Company House (building #705 - List of Classified Structures (LCS) # 059707) is one of three adjoining residential structures on River View Road in El Portal built by the National Lead Company in the late 1920s as residences for employees. These buildings were determined eligible for the National Register at the local level in 1998 in consultation with the California State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO). They are associated with significant barium mining operations in El Portal and also qualify for listing as examples of 1920s and 1930s mining-related structures. As such, they are an important aspect of the historic character of El Portal. They are located in the Rancheria Flat housing district and are highly visible to local employees and residences. Two of the three houses are currently utilized for park employee housing and are considered desirable units as they are affordable, two bedroom homes with historic character, lawns and large shade trees. The currently vacant National Lead Company house has been uninhabited since the late 1980s and is in a state of disrepair.