The fireplace inside Seth Babb’s 1787 Homestead in Greeneville, TN is virtually complete. I received these photos today from Canjoe John. Just days before Earl Fletcher’s death, they worked together to install the mantle. We still plan to install a crane to hold the pot, but that is a month or two away.
These three photos depict 3 angles of view of a newly installed mantle and fireplace surround. The new mantle and surround was created from beautifully aged 150+ year old red oak and white oak lumber that was recovered from another restoration project with a similar history. The extremely heavy beams used were minimum of 2 and 1/2 inches thick of rough sawed material retaining all the character, checks, cracks, hand hewn/sawn marks, and patina of the 150+ years since they were first used. In this particular project, the masons that built the fireplace and chimney were unfamiliar with historic restoration work and though did a beautiful job of laying the brick and stone, lthe end product had too much ‘modern’ in its finished appearance. The mantle and surround was created in order to cover over and make right the authenticity of appearance of the stone work. Now that the mantle/surround has been installed, the firebox will soon be distressed in ways to make it appear, too, as a 150+ year old, used fireplace. After the hardware is made and installed; the crane, the cook kettle, the fireplace andirons and kitchen tools/utensils and everything else related, it will take on the character of the highly used fireplace that cooked the food and heated the structure back in the day.
Additionally, we have decided on a roofer to install the permanent roof. He is engaged in another project until October. Crafting a historic shaker roof takes special skill, so we have agreed to wait. We plan to continue work on other items, such as painting and front steps, while we wait.
I’m attending the Federation of Genealogical Societies convention this week and hope to come up with lots of interesting tidbits as a result. Stay tuned and have a great Labor Day Weekend!