Tivoli Theater revisited.

I am so amazed by the aggregated stucco at the Tivoli Theater. How was this done ?

Stucco on the Tivoli theater, Washington, DC.

There are a lot of secrets here we may never find out. Many years ago, in 1981, when I came back to Washington, I did a lot of plaster patch work in a coop building near Dupont Circle. I met someone who lived there that explained that his father was a plasterer from Ireland. His father was proud of the work he did at the Tivoli, which was finished in 1924. There were a lot of Irish plasterers in the Washington area, for some reason. Maybe these people brought their secrets from Ireland.

I wrote about the aggregated stucco before.
both here:Stucco as art
and here:Where are they now ?

Fornuately, the Tivoli was one of the interesting buildings that survived. The Tivoli was revitalized with the whole Columbia Heights area. A new Metro station was opened at Columbia Heights, leading to a boom in construction in the area. The metro brings life, like the Nile River.

close up shows the aggregated finish in Washington, DC.

A close up shows the aggregated finish. Pebbles are screened and embedded in the stucco finish. Workmanship is exceptional. Walls are straight and uniform.

Tivoli had been adbandoned and boarded up.

One of the pictures I took in 2002. Tivoli had been adbandoned and boarded up.

Other pictures are here: Interesting stucco buildings in the Washington, DC area

Ghosts of DC.

Ornamental details were cast and stuck on. Arches are precise. You can see evidence where arches were run with a swing arm,

Ghosts of DC has an interesting article on the history of Tivoli here: IF WALLS COULD TALK: TIVOLI THEATER WAS “THE TEMPLE OF THE ARTS”

Lath with guide wires.

Check out the molding. Apparently, the aggregate was mixed in the mortar, the finish applied and troweled, and then the finish was washed and rubbed to expose the rocks. The unknown secrets are.
1. What did they do to slow down the set of the mortar to allow time to do all this ?
2. Did they use a bonder or sealer on the basecoat such as portland cement paste ?
3. how long did the walls set up before the wall was scrubbed exposing the aggregate ?
4. Was the wall rubbed with a brick ?
Maybe we'll never know the mystic secrets.

Finestone aggregated finish.

Here is one of our jobs we did using an aggregated finish. Rocks were thrown into the finish coat.
More about aggregated finishes here:

Franciscan Monastery in Northeast Washington, DC.

Another fine example of aggregated finishes in the Franciscan Monastery in Northeast Washington, DC. The front garden walls and colonnade were completed about the same time period as the Tivoli, about 1925. I believe the stucco was done by the same people, the same Irish plasterers.
More about the Franciscan monastery here:

Aggregated stucco at the Franciscan Monastery in Northeast Washington, DC.

A close up view of some of the work at the monastery.

Stucco colonnade at Franciscan Monastery in Northeast Washington, DC.

A shot of the colonnade. The ceilings aren't aggregated, but textured stucco. You can tour the monastery if you want.