Some of you have followed the story of the Carter’s Grove plantation in Virginia. Colonial Williamsburg sold it in 2007 and several articles, including this one in The Washington Post, have said that the plantation house was in disrepair.
Recently, Dennis Hockman of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Matt Webster of Colonial Williamsburg, and Megan Melinat of Virginia’s Department of Historic Resources toured the plantation house. Here is Hockman’s description of what they saw:
What I found on my visit was not a house in ruin or falling apart as just about everything I read has described, but rather a beautiful Colonial era mansion perched on a hill with a view of the James River. Inside I saw signs of neglect, for sure:
- water damage to the original plaster walls caused by roof leaks and infiltration from clogged gutters;
- buckled and cracked paneling resulting from a combination of water damage and an inoperative heating and air conditioning systems;
- and what is likely sporadic mold, also a consequence of that inoperative HVAC system.
But such damage was limited, and most of the house was in beautiful condition.
More good news is that the underlying problems Melinat and Webster identified were discovered before irreparable damage was done. The HVAC is fixed, now regulating the building’s interior temperature and humidity and eliminating the problem that had allowed “mold” growth and contributed to the paneling damage.
This is good news indeed.
NOTE: I should add that this is not the “Carter” who I wrote about in The Way of Improvement Leads Home. That was Robert Carter III, the cousin of Carter Burwell, the builder of Carter’s Grove. Carter III presided over Nomini Hall where Philip Vickers Fithian served as a tutor from 1773-1774. Carter III and Carter Burwell were grandchildren of Robert “King” Carter.