Monthly Archives: October 2010

Roof Final Phase

It is always sad to see a tour season end at Beauport, but the guide team dusted off the drapes and covered the chairs to close the house up for the winter.  The house will re-open for tours on June 1, 2011. 

But the end of the tour season does not mean work stops at the house- in fact now the carpenters have taken over the front of the house to work on the final phase of the roofing project.  The work will continue through December.

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Herringbone Chimney comes to a point…

We always find something interesting at Beauport- take the Herringbone Chimney for instance– it is a lovely rectangular chimney with a tall shaft that sits between the Pine Kitchen and the Franklin Game Room.  The upper portion includes a herringbone pattern and bricks set at angles to create beautiful shadow lines.  The chimney provides a flue to the stove in the Franklin Game Room, which was constructed in 1917.  Henry Davis Sleeper was deeply interested in the country’s forefathers.  The house includes numerous images, statues, and carvings of Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, and John Adams, among others.  The Franklin Game Room was the first room in Beauport to be dedicated entirely to American patriotic themes.  Here, classical drapery surrounds a bust of Benjamin Franklin and the room is heated by a stove of the type he invented.  A Franklin stove is a metal-lined fireplace.  It was made in 1742 and has baffles in the rear to improve the airflow, providing more heat and less smoke than an ordinary open fireplace.  It is also known as a circulating stove.  Although in current usage the term “stove” implies a closed firebox, the front of a Franklin stove is open to the room so it appears like a fireplace.

The room is small and intimate and the stove would have been an added welcome on a cold night, but documentation states that the Franklin stove at Beauport never worked.  The room was heated by radiators carefully hidden within a bookcase on the adjacent wall.  And upon closer inspection during the chimney repairs, the flue is squeaky-clean indicating that the chimney itself has never been used in nearly 100 years.  Sleeper was constantly adding on and changing details in the house–it’s hard to tell the reason that the chimney was never used… but what a beautiful masonry addition to the house! 

Although never in use, the harsh New England weather caused deterioration at the mortar joints as well as the lead flashing.  The repairs included rebuilding the top six courses and re-flashing the entire base.

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Filed under History, Masonry