Restoring the Madison Fireplaces

Research & Collections
 

All but three of Montpelier’s twelve fireplaces survived the duPont renovations. Fortunately evidence surviving in the framing and brickwork revealed the original location and size for all but one of the missing fireplaces. Each of the fireplaces have been carefully documented and all of them are being accurately restored to their appearance during the Madisons’ occupation.

Images of the Fireplace Restoration

An architectural historian documents the existing conditions of a fireplace prior to restoration. Each fireplace was thoroughly documented with photos and measured drawings prior to any restoration in order to capture any information relating to its evolution and Madison-era appearance.

A second floor reconstructed fireplace and chimney stack. This fireplace, and its chimney stack, had been demolished by William duPont in order to construct a doorway into his new addition. Because the new chimney stack would not be historic, it was used as one of the primary duct runs for the heating and ventilating system.

Masons repair a surviving Madison-era fireplace. Nine of the original Madison-era fireplaces survived the duPont additions in 1901. However, several of these fireplaces had been altered over time and so they needed to be restored to their ca. 1820 appearance. Fortunately, evidence for the original size of these openings often survived the later changes.

Remains of a ca. 1765 sandstone fireplace surround can be seen behind the ca. 1880 bricks in the Drawing Room. The fireplace surround that Madison installed in the Drawing Room was partially demolished in order for a new marble mantel to be fitted on the chimney breast in the 1880s. Fortunately portions of the 1765 surround survived and so it was accurately restored.

The fire surround, left, following restoration.

 

A completely reconstructed first floor fireplace awaiting the re-installation of its original ca. 1812 chimneypiece.