The Willow Gate (1801-1817)

Research & Collections

With the restoration of the front lawn, archaeologists conducted excavations to look for the front gate that was mentioned in several accounts.  During a very cold winter excavation, archaeologists were able to find a needle in a haystack—two post holes for the Madison plantation gate dating to the 1808-1812 renovation period for the grounds.  We restored the gate to its Madison-era appearance based on archaeological finds.

Location of excavations that revealed Madison-era post holes for entry gate.  Archaeologists had to remove over two feet of 20th century gravels and decipher two sets of posts to find the Madison-era gate postholes.

Combined overhead photograph of gate posts at Willow Gate with profile below.  Archaeologists determined the Madison-era posts based on the dimensions of the surviving late 19th century gate.