Despite outwardly quiet appearances, the Mansion is humming with activity in the off-season as staff prepares for the burst of work the warm months will bring. Director Tom Johnson and Assistant Director Tim Brosnihan are working closely with stone expert Ivan Myjer this winter to source brownstone for an upcoming project to restore the Reception Room Bay.
While the quarries in Portland, Connecticut that supplied brownstone for building projects up and down the eastern seaboard operated through the 1930s, changing architectural taste and the Great Depression brought brownstone quarrying to a halt by decade’s end. For a small window of time in the early 2000s, the Mansion took advantage of a small quarry opened for restoration work. When this quarry closed in 2012, finding high-quality replacement stone for the Mansion’s badly weathered façades became much more difficult.
Thankfully, small caches of salvaged and unused brownstone are available for those with the patience to seek them out. Even so, the restoration of the Reception Bay, which contains several truly massive pieces of deteriorated stone, poses special challenges. Using piece drawings produced last year by Resurgence Engineering, Ivan Myjer has been scouring the country for suitable material and has produced some promising leads. We hope to have some exciting information to share in the not-so-distant future!