Reconstructing the Stairs

Research & Collections

Stairs were originally found in both the ca. 1764 and ca. 1797 portions of the house. Both of these stairs had been removed during renovations in the 1860s and in 1901. However, physical evidence for the stairs survived the duPont renovations and subsequently was used to reconstruct the stairs.

Images of the Stair Reconstruction

Investigating the original framing for one of the Mansion’s two stair cases. While very little original material survived for either of the two stairs, what did remain provided enough information to accurately reconstruct these two important elements.

Forming the stringers for the ca. 1797 stair.

A new, lighter colored, stringer is inserted into a mortise in a darker colored Madison-era joist. This joist is one of the few remaining pieces of the stairway that President Madison had constructed for his 1797 addition to Montpelier. The surviving joist, which showed where the stairway landed on the second floor, was one of the major pieces of evidence used to reconstruct the stairs.

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The completed ca. 1765 stair framing.