Stable Yard (1801-1817)

Research & Collections

The stable yard served as a work area during the construction of the mansion.  Letters between Madison and his builders recount the use of the Stable as the main carpentry shop.  Some of the tools recovered in this area during metal detector surveys potentially date to this use for the construction of the mansion wings from 1809-1812.

Although many of the structures such as the Stable and the Stable Quarter were built in the latter part of the 18th century, the Stable Yard remained an active font of activity throughout the early-19th century.  It is likely that there were three principle areas of activity in the Stable Yard:

  1. Garden.  With a 2-acre garden, it is likely that the enslaved gardeners that tended it lived within the Stable Yard.

  2. The Stable and Carriage House.  In addition to the insurance document mentioning the position of the principal stable, archaeological investigations also revealed the likely location of a carriage house and several other home-quarters for the enslaved.

  3. The Craft Complex.   In addition to the other activities, just located off the Stable Yard was the Craft Complex.  Controlled metal detecting of the area has revealed that there were at the very least coopers, carpenters, and farriers working in this area.


Map showing location of stable, craft complex, and garden in relationship to the mansion and visitor center.  The location of these sites are based on archaeological survey.