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To find where the baseboard fragments had been installed at Montpelier during the Madison-era, each board was dated to one of the three Madison construction periods (ca. 1764, ca. 1797 and ca. 1809).  After they were sorted by time periods, each board was inspected for clues that would help reveal what room it had been installed in.  To narrow down the possible locations, the Restoration Team looked at the back of the boards.  Often ghosts found on the backs revealed if the Madisons’ carpenters installed the board against either a brick wall or a wooden stud partition.  If it had originally been nailed to a stud wall, then a ghost of the studs, distinguished by a lighter stripe of wood with a nail hole in it, could be clearly seen on the back.  However, it the board was installed on a masonry wall, then ghosts marks left from contact with masonry and mortar were found. 


A ca. 1764 wooden nailer embedded into a brick wall at Montpelier.  These nailers were originally used to secure baseboards to the walls.