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Ventfort Hall Masonry Repair Project Underway
Historic Preservation Blog from PreservationDirectory.com -
Contributed By: Ventfort Hall Gilded Age Mansion and Museum
Email The Author: linda@gildedage.org
Website: https://gildedage.org

LENOX, MA (5/7/24) – Ventfort Hall is pleased to announce they have reached their funding goal and work has begun on their masonry restoration project through multiple generous sources.

Ventfort Hall thanks the following generous funders:
Mass Historical Commission
Town of Lenox CPA
Feigenbaum Foundation
Jane & Jack Fitzpatrick Trust
Private Donation

This project will address urgently needed masonry work to rebuild and restore four chimneys on the east and west sides of the roof ridge. The four massive chimneys each contain multiple conjoined fireplace flues and are ornamented with brick corbelling (staggering) and custom profiled bricks for architectural detail. 

Many of the bricks on the chimneys have lost their mortar and have begun to dislodge and are currently being caught by temporary netting to prevent falling bricks from causing severe harm to the roof or to patrons on the ground. Should a chimney collapse completely, there is not adequate documentation to replicate the ornate brick details and corbelling to recreate the chimneys.

The work will entail disassembling each of the four chimneys down to sound underlying material, rebuilding the bricks to match the historic design and detailing, providing new custom brick to replace units that are too deteriorated for re-use, and fabricating and reinstalling the metal chimney caps.

Pittsfield, MA masonry contractor H.A. O'Neil was chosen to complete the restoration. They were chosen for their vast experience working with historic masonry restoration projects and methods. Hill-Engineers, Architects, Planners Inc. is providing oversight for the project. Work began on April 26.

Located in the Lenox cultural district close to local inns, restaurants, stores, theater, and music venues, Ventfort Hall attracts more than 11,000 visitors to the town each year. Since rescuing it from destruction in 1997, the Ventfort Hall Association has maintained and continued to restore this landmark estate, a magnificent example of early 20th century architecture and a museum dedicated to the history of the Gilded Age, a significant period in the history of Lenox.

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places and designated by the Massachusetts Cultural Council as an important partner of the Lenox Cultural District, one of the five such Berkshire County districts, Ventfort Hall Gild Age Mansion and Museum was built in 1893 for George and Sarah Morgan, the sister of legendary financier J. Pierpont Morgan.

Self-guided tours of the historic mansion are offered daily, as well as Tea & Talks, such exhibitions as the Bellefontaine Collection, concerts, theater, ghost tours and hunts, as well as other programs. This elegant Jacobean-Revival Berkshire “cottage” is open to the public year-round and is available for private rental.  Ventfort Hall, also an Official Project of Save America’s Treasures program sponsored by The White House, has undergone substantial restoration, which continues.

 


Posted: May 13, 2024
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