The first phase of the project was to remove the plaster ceiling in the dining room below. The removal of this recent material is required to gain access to the joists that require additional support. This ceiling was installed in 1976, following a survey of structural conditions and some minor stabilization that was adequate for the time. The removal of this ceiling has exposed many fine features that speak of the room’s evolution.
Adjacent to the fireplace wall there are two bricks that remain from an earlier hearth, suspended delicately near their original position. On the other side of the fireplace, a few inches behind the wall paneling, there remains the plaster wall that would have been the original room finish. Much of the original ceiling plaster remains attached to the floorboards above. This ceiling would have been painted white as were the sides of the joists. The bottom of the joists and the summer beam were painted grey, samples of this color treatment can still be witnessed as well. A few remains of the presumably 18th century ceiling also stand guard, nailed along the edges of the east wall. The exposure of these elements is a rare and important opportunity to record the evidence they provide and provide this very important information for future reference.
Tags: historic house, history, museum, preservation, secret rooms project, the house of the seven gables
This post was written by Ryan Conary