RAC Update – 12/21/2005  

General Items

– All of the cribbing has been removed.  The only brace that remains is found in the Drawing room and is used to support one end of the second floor truss.

– Exciting evidence of additional c. 1760 wall painting was found attached to one of the bricks removed from the re-used bricks in the infilled New Dining Room window (which is currently assumed to have been bricked up c. 1850).  The design of the new sample exhibits a slightly different pattern and background color then the samples found in the Dining Room Chamber (M-206).  The original location of the new sample, and what that means for the evolution of the house, is still being pondered. 

– An intern from Mary Washington has worked with Mark W. to determine which elements, both in situ and in the sample collection, Susan B. will sample.


– Non-Madison Joists and trim have been removed from the second floor framing and the deteriorated ends of the Madison era joists are being consolidated and repaired

– A new plate and replacement joists have been fabricated from heart pine and put into place

  Interior Partitions and Framing

– The partition between rooms M-111 (Chamber) and M-112 (Dining Room) has been partially reconstructed

– The Library Closet (M-210) has been partially reconstructed

– The Garret Stair Closet has been partially reconstructed (re-using several original studs).

         – After further investigation (plumbing stud locations, re-examining nail evidence on the floor and the ceiling framing), the design for the Garret Closet was altered from what was proposed in the initial investigation’s second floor plan.  Instead of three separate spaces (two small closets off of the large bedroom and a long, narrow garret stair closet), it now appears the space was undivided (no evidence was found to carry the closet’s longitudinal partition all the way to the exterior wall.  Instead the wall appears to have terminated at the foot of the Garret stair).  Additionally, no evidence for doorways leading to the Large Bedroom was found, suggesting the closet only had one entrance (from the passage).  Finally, the studs that had been reused in the non-Madison partition were re-examined.  The shelving evidence was found to line up with the shelving scars on the closet’s portion of the exterior wall, relating that shelves ran across the closet’s south wall.

– Framing and several studs for the partition walls for the 1760 stair have been replaced.


– Additional posts have been set

– New Kitchen (M-001), East Wall – A series of nailers and a shelf scar have been uncovered on the east wall, providing strong evidence for a cabinet

– New Kitchen (M-001), North Wall – Ray C. has rebuilt the opening for the doorway and the reconstructed doorframe has been installed.

– New Kitchen (M-001), floor – After comparing the level of the threshold between the new kitchen and the North Cellar Passage to the interior walls of the New Kitchen, it appears that the surviving herringbone paving found next to the exterior doorway on the North Wall is indeed the finished floor level from the Madison occupation. 

– New Passage (M-002) – Three additional masonry pockets and two new nailers have been uncovered that are associated with the north cellar stair framing.  Additionally, ghosts for the staircase have been uncovered, giving the angles for the primary flight and the winder. 


– Sheathing and shingling have started on the south end


– Kevin has opened up the window in the New Dining room and the window frames in the Dining Room Closet and M-200 (Room over Mr. Madison’s Room) have been replaced.

  Drawing Room (M-108) Fireplace 

Several exciting discoveries have been made as Ray C. deconstructed the c. 1870 infill to reveal the mantle.

– First, an approximately six inch piece of the 1760 stone mantle was recovered from the 1870 fill.  The piece has clear evidence of an egg and dart pattern (similar to the undamaged 1760 mantle in the Dining Room (M-112)), providing solid proof for reconstructing the stone portion of the Drawing Room mantle. 

– Second, Ray discovered that the Madison Period III hearth setting bed was almost completely intact, including tool mark impressions from the back of the period III hearth stone.  When the tool marks from the back of the St. Bea’s hearth stone that was uncovered by the archaeologists in a cellar pit were compared to the marks in the setting bed, it became very clear that the stone was once found in the Drawing Room.  Ray C. feels confident he can repair the hearth stone and, using a 1/16” setting material, place it back exactly where it was found in Madison’s time. 

– The rear of the Madison fire back also appears to have been plastered and was covered with multiple generations of whitewash. 

– The uncovered Madison era mantle has been measured and photograph in preparation for removal by Ray C.  After removal, Ray will assess its condition and develop treatment options.

– Ray C. has also found slight black graining in the mantle stone, confirming that the stone original came from the St. Bee’s quarry. 


            – Brick repairs continue

            – The Portico pilasters have been plastered

            – Repairs to the cornice continue


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