Stable Quarter (1797-1801)

Research & Collections

The Stable Quarter lies just beyond the 19th-century formal yard and served as the home for an enslaved artisan household between the mid 1790s through to the 1830s when the structure was abandoned. Unlike the timber-framed structures of the South Yard (built in 1810) with their raised timber floors and central masonry chimney bases, the Stable Quarter was a log-cabin with clay floors, at-grade hearths, and stick-and-mud chimneys.  While it might sound to be a much simpler, humbler arrangement than the buildings of the South Yard, in some ways it would have presented a more insulated living arrangement as the cold winter wind would not have whistled under-foot, and the clay-clinked walls would have offered more insulation than the thickness of a single plank of wood. In addition, the sub-floor storage pit found inside the structure would allow the household to store sweet potatoes through the winter--one option not available to inhabitants of structures in the South Yard.

The structure was originally 16 feet by 20 feet, consistent with other structures at Montpelier that have been identified as 18th century (and different than those of the 19th-century South Yard).  The archaeological evidence indicates that there were two rooms to the structure, each heated by its own hearth, and perhaps a single window.  Surrounding the Stable Quarter to the north were a number of borrow pits—originally used for the clay to chink the structure and the chimneys, they were subsequently filled in with hearth ash and trash.

The memoirs of Mary Cutts indicate that this small structure may have been the retirement home of “Granny Milly,” a mere 104 years of age, and her youngest granddaughters all of whom were retired.

Click here to see artifacts we have located from the Stable Quarter.

The Stable Quarter may have looked similar to this log cabin with its stick-and-mud chimney. 

The photograph above shows the Stable Quarter site after we had completely excavated the overlying soil and revealed all the structure features (hearths, corners, and pits) as well as yard features.

Learn More : Click on the photo above to see more details at the site.