Department of Conservation and Recreation say long awaited repairs to the portico sheltering the historic icon will be finished at the end of the month and ready for a grand unveiling.

Fall tourists looking for a piece of the rock may get their chance after Oct. 1.


The state Department of Conservation and Recreation says long-awaited repairs to the portico sheltering Plymouth Rock will be finished at the end of the month and ready for a grand unveiling Oct. 1.


Tourists early this summer couldn’t see the rock at all because of construction barriers. Midway through the season Plexiglas was installed to give visitors a view.


Come Oct. 1, all barriers will be down.


The $308,000 price tag jumped to $489,000 because of unforeseen problems under the damaged ceiling tiles and costs to reproduce similar replacement tiles.


Likewise, the issues delayed projected completion dates of June 1 and Aug. 31.


State and local officials say they are happy to have the rock open in time for the fall tourist season when thousands flock to town for the Thanksgiving parade and holiday season.


Destination Plymouth director Paul Cripps, who cajoled a few disappointed summer tourists, says the fall tourism season is generally busier than the summer season, especially at historic sites.


Damaged terra cotta tiles in the ceiling of the portico were repaired and replaced; the portico roof was replaced, masonry was cleaned and repaired; mortar was replaced; rust was removed from the internal steel frame and decorative metalwork was painted.


A high tech, solar-powered, cathodic protection system (which halts rust through the application of a safe and mild electrical current) was installed in the portico to protect against any future deterioration.


The work is part of a more than $1 million renovation plan for Pilgrim Memorial State Park on Plymouth’s waterfront.


Additional work will include electrical system upgrades and replacement of the deteriorated stair railing on Coles Hill.


That work is expected to be completed by the end of June 2009.


The portico is a historically significant structure listed in the National Register of Historic Places.


Boston architects McKim, Mead and White, designed the neo-classical revival style portico.


The same firm designed the Boston Public Library and Penn Station and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.


Bargmann Hendrie +Arche- type of Boston led the recent reconstruction effort.


The Patriot Ledger