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However, when the ca. 1880 chimneypiece was removed at the start of the Restoration an earlier stone fireplace surround was found partially hidden behind a layer of bricks. While the earlier surround had been damaged, most of the damage was due to the surround's backband being knocked off when the marble fireplace was installed. Could this surround actually date to the Madison period and, if so, was it related to the "stone jambs" in Dinsmore's letter? To answer these questions, the Restoration Team first had to figure out what type of stone the surround was made from and then determine if it could be matched to other Madison-era architectural elements.


The Drawing Room fireplace after the ca. 1880 chimneypiece was removed. The black painted trim found behind the bricks are the remains of an earlier stone fireplace surround.