RAC Update – 3/20/2006
Everything is progressing steadily and no major hurtles have developed over the past week. Mark G. is currently reinstalling the pulleys on the Madison windows that had been moved by the duPonts. The brass faces are being left exposed (which, I believe, is similar to Popular Forest) and care is being taken to install each pair installed in their original window.
The chimneys are also being inspected this week to assess the conditions of the flues and the amount of space in each stack.
Dining Room (M-105)
Mark W., Chad K. and I went to inspect the chimney cap that Conover H. described in her “Dolley and the Great Little Madison” booklet. The cap, which is found approximately five miles away on Chicken Mountain Road, does appear to be a Dinsmore/Neilson mantel from period III. The shelf is 6’5” long and it best fits the chimney breast in the New Dining Room (M-105). Unfortunately the Dinsmore account for this room lists a full “chimney piece”, which elsewhere has indicated pilasters and some sort of surround. So, while appear to have the a major portion of the mantel, some elements will still have to be conjectural. We have completed measured drawings for the mantel and are investigating any physical evidence that would tie the mantel to the chimney breast in M-105. In addition, the owner, Randy T., has indicated he would be willing to let Susan B. sample the cap. This would be particularly interesting because the woodwork retains its circa 1880(?) polychrome paint scheme. Additional polychromed elements have been recorded in other locations with black and white photos, but no other surviving examples have been found. I am going to attach a photo and a pdf of the measured drawing in a separate email.
The underpinning of the eastern chimney base the south end of the main block is almost complete and the masons will soon start to repair the interior of the stack (which only survives on the basement level).
Peter P. is staining shingles and will start shingling again some time this week.
The south dormer on the eastern elevation has also been removed. The pieces of the duPont era dormer have been collected and are being entered into the sample database.
Matt R. and crew are currently excavating the soil under what was the duPont’s east patio in preparation for the mechanicals installation. I don’t believe any Madison era features have been found yet (mostly just nails and window glass has turned up), but Matt is hoping to find evidence for a path or two that relates to the Madison occupation.
Mark W. and Matt L. have recently been working on a design for the c. 1765 stair. Mark has also finished a draft drawing detailing the basement partitions and is working with Matt Reeves to make sure the archaeological evidence and the architectural evidence are in accord.