Reconstructing the Masonry

Research & Collections

Images of the Reconstructed Masonry

Limestone being burned at Virginia Lime Works in Lynchburg, Virginia. Originally the Madisons quarried the lime for their buildings at a quarry found on their Montpelier Plantation. However, the quarry appears to have been exhausted by the late nineteenth century and so limestone from the same vein was collected in the neighboring town of Gordonsville. This lime was then burned and mixed, or slaked, with water to form lime putty. The putty was then mixed with sand to form a mortar that was used to repoint the historic brickwork.

New bricks used to repair and reconstruct missing masonry walls. Where possible the masons re-used original eighteenth century Madison bricks recovered during the deconstruction phase. However, the small number of recovered bricks were not enough to complete the project, and so custom-made bricks were ordered from Old Carolina Brick Company. These bricks matched the original size, color, and texture of the original bricks.

A mason replacing a small piece of missing brick. Instead of replacing all of a damaged original brick, the masons carved a new piece from one of the Old Carolina bricks and carefully inserted it next to the surviving portion of the historic brick.

A mason reconstructs one of the cellar windows that had been bricked in during a renovation in the 1850s.


Portico Column Bricks

A replacement brick is being sculpted for the base of a column. Where the original bricks were missing or significantly damaged, new bricks were shaped by hand to reproduce the original design.