John Young Homestead Stabilization

Image with a man standing on top of stones

In the 1790s, John Young built a two-story house on the Big Island of Hawaii. He had been given his home site by King Kamehameha the Great, for whom he served as a “War Advisor.” The house was constructed of stones laid in earthen mortar and covered in lime plaster. Years of extreme weather conditions led to the deterioration of the homestead’s original masonry and compromised its stability.

In 2004, ARG was retained by the National Park Service to design protective schemes for John Young’s
residence. The scheme that was selected involved a partial reburial of the building’s walls. Conservation
treatments included cleaning debris from the walls, stabilizing masonry with new earthen mortar,
injecting cracked plaster fragments with new lime grouting and mortar, and re-installing protection
systems including stone wall capping, stone berms around the walls, and plaster protection panels at
the South and East walls.

ARG’s sister company, ARG/CS, was charged with carrying out the reburial scheme and conservation
treatments. In 2009, traditional Hawaiian masons from Pu’ukohola Heiau National Historic Site assisted
ARG/CS in the construction of dry-laid stone berms. This conservation campaign helped to further
stabilize the remains of the structure and will fortify it against the elements in the future.

Photography by Architectural Resources Group