Montpelier Restoration Update – 9/10/2008

Count Down to the Grand Opening: 8 Days


The painters have primed and applied the exterior paint to the newly installed window sashes. They are also getting ready to paint the fence pickets and posts.

Jack Fisher continues to apply the final coat of linseed oil paint to the interior trim and doors.


Gene Lyman continues to install locks in the original and reconstructed doors. Blacksmith and brass founder Kevin Clancy was also on-site this week to install several of his reproduction brass door knobs and escutcheons. He also installed a large iron rim lock on the eastern door of M-106 (North Passage) that he reproduced in his shop. The design was based on physical evidence found on the door by architectural historian Mark Wenger while the case and inner workings, which are also accurate to the period, are based on Kevin’s knowledge of early-American hardware.

Keith Forry is repairing the mansion’s front doors. These doors date to circa 1809 and have never been moved or replaced.


Amongst the madness of final preparations for the grand opening on the 17th, Mark Wenger and Jennifer Glass are carefully recording the tack lines in the surviving Madison floors before the protective carpeting goes down. They are finding many generations of tack and staple holes that relate to carpets installed from the time of the Madisons through to the duPonts. The information they are collecting will eventually be used to specify new period carpet in the refurnished rooms.


Blaise Gaston is finishing up the framing for the North Wing’s eastern-exterior stairs.


Luther from the Ceiling and Floor Shop in Charlottesville continues to install the protective carpeting in the Mansion. He has finished the second floor and has completed all but four rooms on the first floor.


The rear lawn has been cleared of construction trailers and all of the gravel that was laid down to protect the archaeological features has been removed. Sod has also started to be laid on the rear lawn and it is quickly being returned to its pre-construction appearance.

Mac Ward has finished the South Wing, eastern exterior stairs. He is currently installing the porch’s wooden decking.

Kevin Neito is finishing up the cellar entrances.

Bill Bichell and Gene Lyman have built a ramp from the rear lawn up to the colonnade. The ramp will allow visitors in wheelchairs to access the first floor.

Olivier Dupont-Huin continues to build the steps that will lead from the Colonnade to the rear lawn. He has cut the stringers and is installing the stainless steel braces that will hold the stringers to the Colonnade’s framing.

The fence and gate posts for the west yard fence have been installed. The 4×4 fence posts and 8 x 8 gate posts are both made out of locust and an auger mounted to a skid-steer was used to drill the holes. A jig was also used to ensure that the posts were spaced properly and as a more convenient method for straightening posts before they are set.

7 Responses to Montpelier Restoration Update – 9/10/2008

  1. Stan Koch says:

    As a NTHP member with considerable interest in Montpelier, I would like to ask procedure to follow to join tour once open to the public. I am close enough to Orange to make day trip. Appreciate your time to respond. SK

  2. Mr. Koch,

    The house has been open to the public for tours throughout the restoration and to tour the estate simply arrive whenever is convenient for you. We’re open 7 days a week and for more information see our main website (

    Take care and hope to see you soon,


  3. Megan says:

    I understand why the carpeting has to go down. But isn’t there anyway just to rope off a carpeting runner and then place a squared off carpeted area for stops instead of covering all of the beautiful hardwood floors that have been so carefully restored? I have been to Montpelier twice this past summer to see the restoration process and I absolutely love the place. It is just a shame to hide some of its beautiful detailing….

  4. Megan,

    I completely agree with you that its a shame to have to cover the floors (which are extraordinary and, in most cases, very well preserved). We have tried to leave as much of the floor uncovered as possible, but after experimenting with temporary mats, it was found that the current layout was the only one that would work with the number of visitors we have. We also felt that having the stanchions in the room to support the ropes would detract from the visitors experiencing the rooms, and so the current carpet plan allows us to avoid using them.

    However, the “Old Library” on the second floor is going to be left uncarpeted, so visitors will be able to see at least one room in the house without modern carpets.

    Take care,


  5. Megan says:

    I understand your decision. Hopefully, technology will allow some day for clear carpeting or something that wont impede the view. Will the carpeting remain when the furniture goes in. Also, I don’t believe the Monticello has carpeting in some of the rooms that visitors go through on a daily basis. I just wish that there was another way. But anyway, I still love the house and am very happy that I got to see it in the restoration process… it really made me excited about going into my graduate studies in Historic Preservation!!!!

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