Fireplace Restoration

Men Standing by Fireplace

The fireplace stands alone after the former Vance house was disassembled. 

Due to the structural integrity and longevity of brick, the original fireplace was largely intact. Site planners therefore decided to restore the original fireplace rather than reconstruct it. They wrapped the fireplace in plastic to keep it safe during deconstruction. They removed the hearth stones and then placed them back after laying the cabin's foundation.

Men Restore Fireplace

Two changes to the original fireplace are visible in this image. The sides of the hearth were worn down where women cooking and pots hanging would have leaned up against the structure. In addition, a hole was cut into the chimney most likely for a stove flue.

Over time, the fireplace was altered with the movements and needs of the residents. The site planners, however, wanted to reverse some of these changes to match the time period represented by the rest of the new structure. Craftsmen added new brick to repair the hole above the fireplace and to return the chimney back to its two-story stature (the new brick is visible above the second story roof). The worn sides of the hearth were left as they were.

New Mortar

A local brick mason works to restore the original fireplace. 

The original bricks would have been made with clay and perhaps hog or horse hair as a binding agent, and then placed into a brick mold to dry. Recently, archaeologists excavated a clay pit across the street from the current historic site, which may have been used by early residents to make bricks. When the fireplace was restored, craftsmen scraped out the first inch of the original mortar and replaced it with cement, which was thought to be stronger and more durable.

Fireplace Restoration