The Menger Hotel was built in 1859 by W.A. Menger. It has now been designated a National Historic Landmark.  Designed by architect John Fries, the original two story building occupies a prominent location on Alamo Plaza. Originally Menger built a brewery here, and soon added a hotel. It has been added onto several times through the years.
this photo shows the cornice during construction.
This is one of the cornice intersections at the ceiling, under construction. The profile from an earlier cornicework (probably turn of the century) was copied for the new ceiling, and you can see it on the left (the image below shows it even better). The brown area to the right is the roughed in work. The white area is run in place, in one piece along the entire forty foot run. The profile tool (shown below) stops without completing the cornice intersections. The intersections are completed with another tool called a "mitre rod".
this photo was taken in 1991 before the scaffolding was removed
The image below shows the profile tool used on this job. This profile projects from the wall 18", and drops from the ceiling 12". There is a quarter at the bottom of the copper blade to give perspective on the size of this mold. The profile is traced onto a sheet of copper, then rough cut with aviation snips, then filed to produce the finish edge of the blade. Then the blade is attached with screws to the plywood apparatus, as seen below. In use, wet plaster and lime is applied to the roughed in substrate (seen in the top photo), and this copper blade is pushed through, cutting the finished profile. The top right bears on a plaster screed on the ceiling, and the lower left edge bears against a screed on the wall, while it rides on a wooden strip that is nailed to the wall (see the top photo).
this photo was taken in June, 1999
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copyright 1999