Northwest Stair Passage Update


The Northwest Stair Restoration is going at full steam and coming along nicely. Our restoration contractor, Chuck Rackley, has been hard at work and is making great progress. He started with reinstalling the floorboards of the main floor room and framing in the partion wall for the ladder-stair that leads to the attic. After the walls were framed, we began to install a hanging system to hold the load of the main floor after the sister joists were removed. This modern hanging system of steel rods, fabricated hangers, and structural LVL’s will be hidden within the floor, partition wall, and attic. This system was neccesary in order to carry the weight of the floor after the floor joists were removed. How “Light Horse” Harry Lee carried the weight is one question that did not have a clear answer; however, we do know that the possible options of how he carried the weight were not acceptable by today’s standards, especially being open to the public.

Next came the building of the actual stairs and reconstructing the missing elements. The missing elements include a newel post, hand rail, and various pieces of floor boards. Chuck has been working on finishing the fitting and installation of the stairs and trim elements. We are hoping to start plastering early next week. After the plastering is complete in the spaces, Chuck will return to finish the restoration.

One of the big finds during the project has been a door that can be linked to the Main Floor room of the stair passage. Through extensive paint analysis, conducted by Susan Buck, we have been able to confidently say this is the original door from the partition wall. The original graining of this door was covered with one overcoat of paint. Susan was able to remove this coat of paint while leaving the original graining in place. This door with its original graining and hardware will be reinstalled in its original location.