Thursday, July 14, 2011

An update from the Jersey Shore...

It turns out that even when I am on vacation I just can’t get the restoration project out of my head. So I’ve decided to post an entry from the Jersey Shore. But if I’m writing from the Jersey Shore I’ve got to do it right. You know what that means..well, actually you only know what that means if you have ever had the “privilege” of watching an episode of MTV’s Jersey Shore…but you’ll catch on quick. To look the part of a Jersey Shore-ite I’ve spent a lot of time under the gentle waves of a tanning bed so that my skin now looks and feels as smooth as a dried up piece of leather. The amount of hair products I have in my hair has allowed said hair to defy gravity in what I consider to be a very flattering hair style. And since the Jersey Shore is all about partying, I needed to make sure I was the ultimate party animal, dancing it up every night. The problem with that one is my husband wasn’t too keen on the idea of me staying out every night until 4am and then sleeping in until 1pm so we compromised and I have partied until 9pm dancing to my youngest child’s garbled rendition of “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” (minus the majority of the correct words of the song).

Being properly suited up to play the part of a person from the Jersey Shore, I can now continue. After my post from last week was written, #3 arrived back on the scene at the museum. In my excitement I rushed to give him a warm welcome but got hung up on the wire fencing surrounding the house and settled for a “How are you?” instead. I think it was probably the better way to go. #3 explained that he was on site to begin putting the siding back in place on the front of the house which we certainly find exciting as it will greatly improve the house’s outward appearance. One little problem quickly became apparent with the siding reinstallation – and that is that the mason’s enthusiasm for his craft resulted in him bricking over the location of where the mailbox is supposed to be in the wall. That makes it awfully tough for #3 to put the mailbox in. The brick will have to be removed so that the mailbox can go back in place.

Behind that patch of insulation is the location of the mailbox which was mistakenly bricked over.

#4 also made a reappearance, literally outside my office door. He came in last Friday to reinstall a restored window. I know, I know, I’ve written before that the basement windows have not been restored yet because they are in bad shape and need more work. It turns out that I was 75% correct – somehow #3 or #4 snuck in and removed the window directly outside of my office to bring back to the shop for restoration. It was the only window of the four basement windows on the front of the house that was in good condition. The other three windows are on hold because two of them need new frames and one needs a new sill. #4 showed me the lower sash of the restored window he was reinstalling, mainly because I was sitting, staring at him and it would have been rude not to. #4 said that the window was hand made and showed me the grooves for sash weights on the sides. The interesting thing here is that this window, in its current location in the basement, does not have the need for sash weights, leading #4 to conclude that the window itself was reused from some other location . I found that fascinating and called up the Curator on the phone hoping she could tell me all about the history of the window and where it was used before. She couldn’t. When the Historic Structure Report was done between 1979 and 1981, the windows were described and included in the floor plans but they were only evaluated based on what was visible without invasive approaches (i.e. no one yanked them out).  We have no documentary evidence in the collection that can shed light on this question. We have the contract between Philip Van Rensselaer who built Cherry Hill and his builder, Isaac Packard. While the contract calls for reusing doors from the previous structure on the property, it does not call for reusing windows from any previous structure. This means one of two things either a) some later family member recycled the window from some unknown location or b) maybe Philip Van Rensselaer and/or the builder changed their minds but never noted it on the documents.

The newly restored and reinstalled window in question. 

The view from that window to my office.  #4 couldn't avoid me even if he wanted to (which he probably did).

That’s all I have for now – what do you want from me? I’m on vacation. I gotta go, I think my youngest child is getting ready to start tonight’s entertainment, I’m hoping I can persuade her to do her cover of “You Are My Sunshine.” That’s going to get the crowd going…the crowd being my three other children and my two nephews.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for taking the time to discuss this, I feel strongly about it and love learning more on this topic.

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