Thanks, Mary, for last week’s blog! That was nice. Now let’s see what’s going on in the Rapp Houses most recently.
The painters have arrived! This week they are prepping the woodwork for paint.
The base boards, chair rails, and other wood work are having cracks and problems repaired in preparation for painting.
And you might be able to guess this one – more PLASTERING! Yep, you got it. Those plasterers are still very hard at work getting the walls and ceilings up to par. We don’t want any 180+ year old plaster to be falling down any time soon (or at all). We’ve heard that they are finished with demolition of failing plaster, and believe me, there is a LOT of original plaster left in the house for anyone that may have been worried about it. And the new plaster is quickly covering up all of our recent discoveries.
In Frederick Rapp’s hallway looking west toward the garden, the plaster boards have completely covered the door that used to be there, and yet a great deal of original plaster remains.
Speaking of recent discoveries, let’s take a look at some of the latest ones, including updates on the staircase and chimney that we discovered.
More old wallpaper found
Original wallpaper was found on a board covering a hole in the corner of the ceiling in the south hallway of the George Rapp House. We have some other pieces of this same paper in the collection from the 1960s restoration, found in George Rapp’s formal dining room.
Another chimney, removed a long time ago
In the post two weeks ago “A new and unexpected discovery” we saw the discovery of two blocks in the ceiling of the Frederick Rapp kitchen. We have now determined that there used to be a chimney at this location. We just don’t know if it was used for a fireplace or a stove. All photographs of the Frederick Rapp House do not show any evidence of the chimney, so it must have been removed before the 1880s. See the pictures below for more evidence.
Above the ceiling on top of the east wall of the room, charred debris can be seen on the left. In the back of the picture is the right diagonal block, covered in lath.
On the second floor, directly above the discovery is a patched floor, as well as pieced base board and chair rail.
The ceiling on the second floor was patched to repair the hole from the chimney when it was removed.
The floor in the attic was patched after the chimney was removed.
One roof joist in the attic shows remnants of the brick chimney which used to rest up against it. The roof boards themselves do not show patching. Notice the initials “WA” and the year 1922 written below the joist. Who could “WA” be?
More evidence of the curved staircase in the George Rapp dining room
In January 17th’s post “The Case of a Missing Staircase” we saw all of the evidence (until then) of the curved staircase that used to be on the north end of George Rapp’s formal dining room. Well, we’ve found more evidence. (BTW, if you’re trying to imagine how this staircase would have looked, it was not actually IN the dining room. It shared a wall with the dining room. Access to the staircase was from the hallway.)
Where the “old” wall and the “new” wall were joined in the hallway, there is an anomaly. Usually the horizontal pieces on a wall all line up. Here the new on the right, and the old on the left, didn’t line up. Also notice the pencil mark at the top of the left support, marking where they should be placed. Not clearly visible here is the difference in the brick between the two walls. The “new” wall has clearly re-used brick because it is broken up and darker. Perhaps the brick from the removed wall was used to build the “new” wall.
The corner post of the wall that was removed between the staircase and the dining room has a hole in it where the horizontal support piece would have been.
Inside the hole can be seen some of the original brick that was in the wall. Also, the nail, barely visible at the upper left, used to secure the horizontal piece into the hole.
The corner post still has part of the top beam of the removed wall, visible at the top of this post.
The door to the vault room used to be a window. The window frame can be seen in this photo above the door. It was made into a door when the staircase was removed.
January 15, 1962 – This photo from the 1960s restoration shows the floor joist where the stair wall used to be tied in. Notice the holes in the joist and the stone pier that used to support the wall.
And now all of the evidence of the staircase is being covered up.
For other posts please see the main blog page.