October 2016 News Update: Congratulations! MP/CP is a 2016 Austin Parks Foundation grant awardee. This significant funding will help make progress on the rock wall restoration. Donations are needed to provide the community matching funds. Thanks go out to Austin Parks Foundation and the many people working to restore Mayfield Park.
NEWS FROM MAYFIELD PARK 2016
Mayfield Park/Community Project
The Mayfield Council
As always things have been busy inside the walls at the Mayfield Cottage and Gardens. On Saturday March 5th we participated in the annual It’s My Park Day sponsored by our good friends at the Austin Parks Foundation (APF). Using garden funds collected in 2015 at the Mayfield Trowel & Error fundraiser, we purchased 10 cubic yards of second grind hardwood mulch and through volunteers from the garden adopters group and other lovers of the park, we beautified the paths in the gardens in preparation for Trowel & Error 2016 held on April 2nd. A big Thank You! to this year’s sponsors of T&E 2016, Friends of the Parks Austin, Friends of Reed Park, Barton Springs Nursery, West Austin Neighborhood Group, McCarthy Print, The Natural Gardener, and Austin’s Parks & Recreation Department; we had an informative and well attended event, as usual.
Hopefully you were able to come and visit us this summer. I can report that our garden adopters have been fairly diligent in working on their beds and that our peafowl are healthy. What you may have noticed particularly this year is the abundance of colorful caladiums throughout the grounds. This splash of summer color is a result of the kindness and generosity of the Kappa Kappa Gamma Austin Alumnae association. This summer mantle is magnificent.
Last winter we applied for and received a $23,434 grant from the Austin Parks Foundation to continue the repairs on the southeast rock wall and the bell arch, a project we began by using $15,000 of our own monies and completed this spring. Unfortunately, all of the perimeter rock walls are deteriorating rapidly.
Below is a picture of Dr. Milton Gutsch building rock walls at Mayfield. Dr. Gutsch and his gardener/assistant, Mr. Steve Arredondo, did all of the masonry work on site. That these gentlemen were, at least in the beginning, more hobbyist rather than professional masons can be seen in the recurring and perhaps serendipitous wave style of rock laying and the before its time deterioration of the walls’ structural mortar. From the 1986 Gregory Free Mayfield Master Plan, “Construction began on the perimeter walls in 1932, beginning with the front gates, and completed by 1937. The field stone for construction was bought for $1.50-$3.00 per truckload, according to Steve Arredondo, the gardener’s son, while other stone used for flower beds…was obtained on the property.”
There was no foundation beam laid under the wall, and the mortar they used has not really held up well over time and it is failing in holding the stones apart in many areas. There are now exposed voids and collapses in the existing wall showing mainly sand left with little or no binding agent. The dominant use of small fieldstone to construct the walls adds to this inherent instability, and this instability compounds the difficulty of repairing sections of the wall in that how the repair joins with and ties into the undamaged portion of the wall can be problematic.
We have a major problem, and the solution is to systematically dismantle the walls, lay down a foundation beam, and then rebuild the walls using a more permanent mortar and stones that cross tie for added stability. The focus this summer and fall is the southern perimeter wall that overlooks the drop to the creek bed below. Alarmingly, these structural failures need to be addressed immediately for the safety of visitors to the park. We are applying for another APF grant but we can always use some help from our friends.
For tax purposes, contributions to the Mayfield Park/Community Project are channeled through an IRS § 501(c)(3) entity (Austin Community Foundation, MP/CP Fund) and can be sent to:
Mayfield Park/Community Project
Austin, Texas 78703
Austin Community Foundation
Mayfield Park/Community Project Fund
4315 Guadalupe Street
Austin, Texas 78751
We also have an endowment fund with the Austin Community Foundation that we opened with an initial donation of $20,000 from the Mayfield Council. Our goal is a million dollars (maybe not in my lifetime) with the long-range well being of the cottage and grounds in mind.
The Mayfield Council wants to thank those who have given their money, but especially those who have given their time, to the preservation and maintenance of this true gem in the City’s parks system. The Mayfield Cottage and Grounds, a City of Austin historic landmark and a National Registered District, would not be what it is today without these volunteer efforts.
Again, an especial thanks this year to the Kappa Kappa Gamma Austin Alumnae association.
Keep us in mind and come visit the park. We are expecting you.
Blake Tollett, Chair
3701 Bonnie Road 78703
The Mayfield Council <Mayfieldpark.org>
Karen Cannatti Rick Chance Janice Brown Tom Kidd
Tricia Ziegler Barbara Watt Sharon Lamb