Friday, May 27, 2011

Thomas Day

Thomas Day was a free black cabinetmaker who became one of the most sought after furniture makers among the Dan River tobacco planters in Virginia and North Carolina. Day was born in 1801 in Dinwiddie County, Virginia and later owned a woodworking and cabinetmaking shop in Milton, North Carolina. His workshop is now a National Historic Landmark and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

While the North Carolina Museum of History in Raleigh has one of the largest collections of Thomas Day furniture in the world, Day’s ornamental woodwork and furniture can still be found in many houses in Virginia and North Carolina. One example of a “Thomas Day” house is Brandon-on-the-Dan, built in a grove of oaks above the
Dan River in Halifax County, Virginia. The property has two houses: an early 19th century planked log dwelling and a circa 1850 frame house. The later 850s frame house is referred to as a “Thomas Day” house because of the decorative entrances and interior architectural elements attributed to Thomas Day.

Day faced and overcame many obstacles in his complex life. Today he is considered one of the founders of the North Carolina furniture making industry. To learn more about Thomas Day see the following:

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Cornland School Preservation Meeting



4:00 – 5:30 p.m. – June 13, 2011
Major Hillard Library meeting room,
824 Old George Washington Highway, North
Chesapeake, VA

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Wolf Hills-Blacks Fort-Abingdon

Part I: Wolf Hills- Blacks Fort- Abingdon

Abingdon was originally named Wolf Hills because a pack of wolves emerged from a cave and attacked Daniel Boone’s dogs here in 1760. In the 1770s, the name changed to Blacks Fort after Joseph Black built a fort nearby to protect settlers against Indian raids.

Blacks Fort’s name was later changed to Abingdon in honor of Martha Washington's British home, Abingdon Parrish.

It doesn’t matter what you call it- Abingdon is fantastic. They have a Historic District that stretches for 20 blocks, the annual Highlands Festival, the nearby Creeper Trail, one of the oldest theaters in America- the Barter Theater; the enchanting Sinking Springs Cemetery, and a Planning Department that resembles an archaeology lab.

Tune in for Abingdon, Part II: The Planning Department

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Floored Again

The Restoration Department finished replacing the termite damaged, 3"x9" heart-pine, floor joists in the hyphen at Bacon's Castle, with new pressure-treated pine ones. In the following picture you can see the early heart-pine finish floor relaid over the new joists. The termite damage was exacerbated by chronic dampness in the front porch area. The department is trying to remedy this issue with a new gutter, some repointing at the area where the porch joins the house, and polyurethane caulk under the door threshold. If they are successful at eliminating the moisture, they will replace the plaster ceiling that was demolished at the beginning of this project. Wish us luck.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

The Beast is Caged

The Restoration Department has finished installing the six-foot tall picket fence around the new HVAC unit in the back yard of The John Marshall House. The crew used several techniques and tools to build the fence efficiently. When the fence rails were set, they were hung at a very precise height from grade. The pickets were all cut in the shop with a chop saw, so they were exactly the same length. The crew could then set the picket bottoms flush with the bottom rail, and the picket tops would come out dead even. The frame was set on site and painted in a day. The 174 pickets were primed and painted off-site with an airless sprayer, in a day and a half. The crew used a cordless nailer, loaded with two-inch stainless steel nails, to attach the pickets, also in a day and a half. Slightly over 1000 nails were used on the pickets.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Historic Staunton Foundation Workshops

Staunton's Historic Districts Presentation

Economic advantages to living in historic districts
& how to get one started in your neighborhood

Friday, May 6 · 12:00pm - 1:30pm
R.R. Smith Center for History And Art

Staunton's historic districts have contributed greatly to its revitalization over the quarter century since they were enacted. Given this success, are there others areas of the city that are also deserving of such a designation? How does a historic district get started? What are the advantages?

Please join Tim Reamer, former Economic Development Director of Buena Vista (now with Cottonwood Commercial Real Estate), along with Benny Werner, Senior Vice President with Community Bank in Staunton as they discuss the process of creating the new Buena Vista Downtown Historic District. We'll discuss what motivated their effort as well as the steps involved to take it from a vision to reality. The presentation is free and open to the public.

This talk is part of HSF's ongoing Preservations Brown Bag series. These informal discussions meet the first Friday of each month to discuss pertinent preservation and development topics within Staunton. Bring your brown bag lunch (or not) and join in for some lively discussion.


Historic Staunton Foundation

Saturday, May 14 · 1:00pm - 3:00pm
Stuart Hall Campus

Stone, brick and concrete retaining walls are a significant historic landscape features throughout Staunton. Over the past few years several of Staunton’s historic walls have failed while some have retained their “lean”. There is a clear need for promoting the preservation, maintenance and repair of these historic walls.

Carter Green (historical architect, Frazier Associates)
James Schnitzhofer (structural engineer, Schnitzhofer & Associates, LLC)
James Flory (stone mason/artisan, Renaissance Stone Masonry)
and Bib Frazier (quarry owner, Frazier Quarry)

will review and discuss Retaining Walls: re-pointing, rehabilitating, tie-ins with neighboring wall and constructing new walls.

This is a workshop you won’t want to miss!