South Kitchen (1763-1797)

Research & Collections

The South Kitchen was built in the 1760s when Madison, Sr. directed the construction of the Montpelier mansion.  This kitchen would therefore serve the food needs of the Madison family and their guests for over sixty years.

Archaeological evidence from the South Kitchen reveals this kitchen had a brick foundation but was a timber frame construction.  The dimensions and construction is similar to the structure found in the Northwest yard that also dates to the 1760s.

With the construction of the North Kitchen in the 1790s, the South Kitchen was used by slaves to prepare the meals for President Madison’s parents, and then after 1801 by Mother Madison’s slaves during her next 28 years of life.  The trash deposits from this kitchen contain some of the only archaeological evidence we have found to date of the range of table ceramics and glass the parents used in their dining room.  These deposits represent some of the earliest ceramic found at the mansion.

By the early 1830s, this structure was razed and does not appear on the 1837 insurance plat.

You may also be interested in the South Yard during:

The exposed brick foundation of the detached south kitchen.  Note the large fire place on the south side of the structure, which would have put it furthest away from the mansion.