Location: Copperstown, NY
Size: 2,200 sf
Masonry Used: 60 tons of bluestone and limestone combined
Submitted By: Welliver Mcguire Inc.
The iconic Otesaga Resort Hotel is a high-end lakefront resort located on picturesque Otsego Lake in Cooperstown, NY. Upon recognizing a need to enhance the guest experience and better frame the hotel’s prominent lake view, the Owner provided a unique opportunity to place Welliver’s BAC Local #3 masons at the forefront by hiring the firm to perform design/build services for a new outdoor fire bar and patio. As the owner dictated an aggressive six week schedule due to the frequency of special events hosted at the resort, the Welliver team worked with Chianis + Anderson Architects to assist with design and coordination.
Despite the project taking place during the Otesaga’s busiest time of year, the project deadline could not waiver as a wedding was scheduled to take place the day after the projected completion date. To set the base for the patio, the masons poured over 110 cubic yards of concrete to form a 6-inch thick slab and laid 2,200 square feet of flame-finished bluestone pavers in a radial pattern on top of a ½-inch mortar setting. At the center of the patio, a 16’ octagonal fire bar was constructed using CMU backup veneered with random-sized bluestone and a flame-finished bluestone footrest. Hand-carved limestone supports and hardscape accent lighting were fitted onto the top edge and a motor crane was used to place eight polished limestone coping pieces, each weighing 775 pounds, to form the bar top.
The Welliver team laid 400 feet of propane line to feed the fire bar and installed a custom-built three-ring burner system in the center of the bar, which was then covered with black decorative crushed glass that generates a “dancing” flame effect on the fire bar’s surface. Though short in duration, the project was not without challenges. Fabrication of the flagstone, foot rest, and bar top had only five weeks from approved shop drawings to being installed and finished. June 2013 was also one of the rainiest on record, at one point raining for 21 days straight. The masons were careful to cover all stone with plastic sheeting once it was set to avoid any wash out, as well as maintain the final quality. An unforeseen crack in the last coping piece to be installed called for an expedited 36-hour fabrication and turn around just days before the project was scheduled to be completed.
The hotel was fully operational throughout the project, and the work site was directly adjacent to the hotel’s balcony and outdoor dining space, creating an almost constant audience of curious hotel guests, which made completing work cleanly, quietly, and safely a top priority. Despite the difficulties, Welliver’s masonry team and suppliers responded to the tall order and completed the project three days ahead of schedule, creating a beautiful example of masonry skill and craftsmanship. The Otesaga’s fire bar now claims the top spot as the largest aesthetic fire burner east of the Mississippi River and will provide comfort and relaxation for hotel guests for years to come.