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Architecture

With its asymmetrical plan, low-pitched roofs projecting out upon brackets, a soaring, square tower, and rich detail, Victoria Mansion exemplifies the Italian villa style that was fashionable in the mid-nineteenth century. This picturesque style was intended to convey a blending of city and country life, so it was especially suited to Morse's summer retreat in an urban setting. Architect Henry Austin effectively evoked this spirit by including numerous piazzas and balconies to connect the structure with the landscape, and by covering the brick structure with earthy-colored Connecticut brownstone and stone-colored mastic.

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The maintenance and upkeep of the Mansion's brownstone has been a major focus of our conservation efforts over the years. In 2001, Victoria Mansion was awarded a prestigious Save America's Treasures grant to help make critical repairs to badly deteriorated brownstone of the tower; the comprehensive $1.4 million restoration project was completed in February 2005. Subsequent brownstone projects have rebuilt the front steps and replaced the long-missing railings, balusters, and decorative carved finials.  Much of the brownstone restoration technology currently in use around the world was perfected in the ongoing work at Victoria Mansion.

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