Stone House, Puerto Rico

2020

HistoriCorps is celebrating its 10th anniversary by kicking off the 2020 season with a super special project:  the post-Hurricane Maria restoration of one of the oldest CCC-era buildings on Puerto Rico’s El Yunque National Forest!

NOTE: There are only 2 volunteer spots available, and a brief application is required to be considered for this incredible opportunity.

PROJECT PARTNEREl Yunque National Forest 

DATES:  Arrive in San Juan, PR on February 9; depart from San Juan, PR on February 15

APPLICATIONS REQUIRED:  Unlike other HistoriCorps projects, applications are requested for this project. Because there are only 2 volunteer spots on this unique project in a unique location, HistoriCorps requests that prospective volunteers apply online by December 2, 2019. Project dates are Feb. 9-15. Volunteers will be on a crew with two HistoriCorps staff and puertorriqueño volunteers.

HistoriCorps will give preference to volunteers who bring these specific skills:

  • Have volunteered previously on more than one HistoriCorps project 
  • Have some level of comfort with Spanish
  • Have some experience salvaging historic building elements (see scope of work for more details) 

Indoor lodging providedTRAVEL AND LODGING:  Volunteers are responsible for their own travel to San Juan, PR, landing there within a specified timeframe. HistoriCorps staff will meet you and transport you to Stone House in our vehicle. We will have shared indoor lodging at an Airbnb near the jobsite; specifics will be sent closer to the project date. 

 

STAFF LEADERS:  Volunteers will work alongside Project Supervisor Ryan Prochaska and Crew Leader Veronica Bejarano.

PROJECT DIFFICULTY:   

LOCATION:  Stone House is located about 90 minutes from San Juan, PR:

GOOD TO KNOW: HistoriCorps will provide all meals, tools, training, and equipment for volunteers on this project. More general information is at the bottom of this page. 

HistoriCorps is celebrating its 10 year anniversary!

We rely on donations to continue engaging volunteers to save significant historical sites across America for generations to come.

Your donation of any amount will make an incredible difference!  Invest in the Workforce for Saving Places today.

Project Site Description & History

Stone House, or Casa de Piedra, was the first permanent building constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps on the El Yunque National Forest. Raymond Feliciano, Heritage Program Manager with the El Yunque National Forest, shares that “it served as the first ranger station for a number of years. It was soon turned into a recreation house for the governors during the late 1930s to early 1950s. During World War II, it was used as officer’s quarters when the Army was operating various installations in the forest. After that it became quarters for employees until 2007. It has laid vacant since then. Hurricane Maria damaged the ceiling and roof of the house.” 

As told by Wikipedia, “Hurricane Maria was a deadly Category 5 hurricane that devastated Dominica, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico in September 2017. It is regarded as the worst natural disaster in recorded history to affect those islands and was also the deadliest Atlantic hurricane since Mitch in 1998… At its peak, the hurricane caused catastrophic destruction and numerous fatalities across the northeastern Caribbean, compounding recovery efforts in the areas of the Leeward Islands already struck by Hurricane Irma. Total losses from the hurricane are estimated at upwards of $91.61 billion (2017 USD), mostly in Puerto Rico, ranking it as the third-costliest tropical cyclone on record.”

El Yunque National Forest is a treasure. Even though it’s one of the smallest national forests in the system, it’s the only tropical rainforest, and also one of the most biologically diverse. Hundreds of animal and plant species call El Yunque home, and some of them are only found there. Read more about the forest and its ongoing hurricane recovery efforts here.

Through engaging volunteers from Puerto Rico and elsewhere, HistoriCorps is contributing to ongoing recovery on the island. We will document and salvage some elements of Stone House, along with other task items. See below for the scope of work. 

The jobsite’s location is close to several desirable destinations, including hiking trails, waterfalls (cascadas), a large outdoor pool, and a generally fascinating rainforest environment in post-hurricane recovery.

 

Scope of Work

Save a piece of history while exploring a rainforest!

Welcome to El Yunque National Forest!

El Yunque National Forest is the only tropical rainforest in the national forest system

This historic photo of Casa de Piedra was found on www.prfrogui.com, which shares a Spanish-language history of the site.

Volunteers will work alongside HistoriCorps field staff to practice the skills necessary to accomplish our scope of work. Stone House’s roof and other elements were damaged during Hurricane Maria. On this project, HistoriCorps’ primary task is to carefully remove and document the original location of several building elements so that they will not become further damaged during upcoming roof reconstruction work.

We will be removing and documenting these salvageable elements from Stone House:   (70% of total work)

  • Spanish cedar floorboards from interior
  • Paneling from interior walls, and document their original location
  • Interior doors
  • Interior transom windows
  • Loose tile
  • Historic bathroom fixtures
  • Other elements to be determined onsite

When this work is done, we will:   (30% of total work)

  • Install storm shutters and interior doors

Logistics & More

  • Read our Volunteer FAQ! If you still have a question that’s not answered there, above, or below, please email us at volunteer@historicorps.org  or call 720-390-6085. We’re always happy to help.
  • Volunteers are also responsible for their own transportation to and from San Juan, PR for this project (see details above).
  • All volunteers are required to review and agree to the HistoriCorps Waiver & Release of Liability and Code of Conduct during the registration process.
  • We help you prepare for your preservation project through providing a “pre-arrival packet” via email. The packet contains a lot of information like: logistics, safety precautions, a suggested packing list, benefits for volunteers, and more.
  • HistoriCorps projects are multi-day sessions, where you will develop your skills over the course of the session, as well as build camaraderie with your crew and make a significant contribution to the preservation of this building. We can only very occasionally accommodate volunteers who require a shorter session. Please email us at volunteer@historicorps.org for more information.

We are always ready to answer your questions. Once you register, expect us to be in touch a few times before your project begins to confirm attendance, offer advice, and share updates. Thank you always! Really, we can’t do it without you.

Apply for This Project

We’re so glad you’ve decided to apply for this project!

Please apply using this form, by December 2, 2019.

Only TWO applicants will be selected.

Applicants will be notified of acceptance by December 15, 2019. Volunteers are responsible for their transportation to San Juan, PR; HistoriCorps will provide transport to the jobsite and lodging, as well as all meals and onsite project leadership.