Reconstruct. Restore. Rehabilitate.

The Kirtland Flats Historic District consists of more than 16 properties. Chambers, Murphy & Burge began work in Kirtland as part of a team retained by the Owner to develop a Master Plan for the restoration of their historically significant properties. Stakeholder meetings and extensive research were critical to acquire, restore, rehabilitate or reconstruct the buildings to give visitors a representation of the early days of Kirtland history. Dealing entirely with vernacular buildings of the 1820s and 1830s, this first step of the restoration campaign (Master Plan) brought to light new understandings of the building practices, technological levels and sophistication of taste in rural Northeast Ohio in the years immediately following the opening of canal transportation to the Great Lakes system.

Kirtland Flats


Kirtland Flats


The Master Plan addressed transportation requirements for the site, and implementation involved coordination with ODOT, the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers. The Owner negotiated with state and local jurisdictions to re-route the State Highway and built a Visitors Center adjacent to the main historic site. The site itself is a pedestrian (and wagon) site as it would have been in the early 19th century. Subsequent project involvement included a lead role for Chambers, Murphy & Burge. This phase of the project incorporated the restoration of the Newell K. & Elizabeth Ann Whitney Home, the rehabilitation of the Family Heritage Center, the reconstruction of previously lost structures (Ashery, Sawmill, Schoolhouse), and the adaptive use of several later (circa 1850) homes.

CMB provided design services with the intent to tell the story of the early development of Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints through the use of the buildings. The restored features were to meet the standards of work completed in the 1825 to 1835 period, to incorporate the significance of the Kirtland Flats past. Size, relationship to the site, construction method, materials, and finishes would be comparable to those utilized in the early 19th century. Archeology, optical microscopy, analytical dendrology and cultural geography were all disciplines employed to elicit the best historical and architectural information available. Extensive research became important in completing the project. Among the features restored or reconstructed are: a working water wheel; water powered saw sash, carriage and lathe; brick furnace and pot ash oven; mortise and tenon timber frame construction; and hand forged hardware. The Kirtland Flats District is considered to be one of the most significant sites in the formation of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Kirtland Flats has become a pilgrimage destination visited by thousands annually from around the world.

Services Provided:

  • Master Planning
  • Site / Building Evaluation
  • Full Architectural Services
  • Historic Research & Building Chronology
  • Material Testing
  • Preservation Planning