Preservation of the House
Preservation of the National Landmark house and the eight other historic structures on the property is central to the Tudor Place mission. It is overseen by the Director of Preservation, with generous support from private foundations and individual donors.
In addition to safeguarding the historic property, each conservation or restoration project offers an opportunity to better understand an object or structure’s underlying materials, construction methods, history, and changes over time.
Recent architectural conservation projects undertaken at Tudor Place have included:
- Restoration of the Temple Portico roof, Fall 2012: Installation of a new lead-coated copper roof to address leaks afforded an opportunity to study the construction of this complex feature. Through a combination of field documentation and laser scanning before and during the restoration, the roof was carefully documented. Analysis of nail hole patterns in the original sheathing boards confirmed that the original roof was also metal clad and built concurrently with the house’s center block.
- Restoration of Exterior Doors, Summer 2013: The seven exterior wood doors on the main house were fully restored and made weathertight. Daily use, exposure, and age had all contributed to deterioration including cracked or rotted wood, loose joints and hardware, gaps, and faded and flaking paint. The paneled wood surround of the north elevation main entrance was also badly deteriorated. Restoration permitted a determination that the north elevation main doors are original to the construction of the house, while the west-hyphen door dates to the mid-19th century, while the doors on the east elevation, east hyphen, kitchen, and west restroom all appear to date to the 1914 restoration. The style, materials and joinery techniques used in each door lend a fascinating insight into construction methods employed in these distinct periods.
- Recreating and installing North Entry capitals in their original local materials and design: The main entrance on the mansion’s north side was originally graced by flanking capitals carved from Aquia Creek sandstone. In 1914, the originals were replaced with cast concrete versions, and in 2007, during a stucco replacement project, the deteriorated cast concrete was removed and replaced with temporary plaster capitals. A generous donation by Mount Vernon of Aquia Creek stone permitted the creation of new capitals in keeping with the original materials and tools used on the building, made with reference to molding profile drawings of the originals from 1914 and to extant wood trim adjacent to their remnants.
- Restoration of the 31st Street Entrance Gate, fall 2012: Repairs restored the cast-iron gate at estate’s main entrance on 31st Street restored its appearance, replaced missing pieces, and returned its mechanisms to full function. Its existing black coating had deteriorated, and the cast iron beneath was badly rusted. Several decorative elements were missing or corroded, and the gates were difficult to open and close. To facilitate the restoration, the gates were taken off-site to allow safe removal of all lead-based coatings and rust, repairs, and the casting and installation of missing cast-iron elements. New hinges and bearings were installed on the heavy auto gates to ensure they are fully supported and operate with ease, and all other locks and hardware were restored and made fully operational.