Discoveries

The interesting thing about removals is you learn new things about the building.  For example, when we removed the 1960s era fake wood paneling in the “study” (Federal NW room) today, a hole in the plaster and lath revealed the remnants of an old/original back staircase in the adjoining hall (thanks to Josh Morrison for spotting this one).  This stair case, probably used by servants, ran off the center hall up to the second floor.  In the twentieth century, the staircase was removed, the ceiling lowered, and the space converted to a half bath.   Here’s a shot through the opening in the study:

Sometimes the removals tell you other things like how the original builders put the house together in the first place.

Up on the roof in the hot sun, Jesse and Josh chipped away at the tough Portland cement mortar on the tops of the chimneys to begin salvaging Davis’s tall terra-cotta chimney pots (octagonal in form, of course) for later chimney reconstruction.   This work revealed that the sandstone chimney caps were constructed in two pieces secured by three cramp irons:

 

So, the masons set the chimney pots on a bed of mortar on top of the flues first, and then set the two halves of the stone cap around them joining the stone pieces with iron fasteners.  The top of the cap was then well “buttered” with mortar (the Portland cement-based mortar probably dates to a later campaign of repairs) to make a weather-tight seal.

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