House Restoration - Special Reports

The Siding of the Gage Home Has Begun!

Nov. 17, 2009

West Side of the Gage Home


Update from Leo Construction

Nov. 11, 2009

The Transformation Is Underway

Wow, eight weeks and we’re on a roll. We have been taking advantage of the great weather and focusing on the exterior of the building. We are installing the cedar shake roofing and will be done with this by week’s end. The masonry repair and new stone work is complete, and just today we started removing the exterior siding from the existing home, and we will insulate and begin installing the new siding tomorrow. The exterior sidewalks have been reformed and poured, and the rear basement floor has been excavated and a new concrete floor has been installed in lieu of the old dirt floor (oh, the marvels of modern construction!).

Again, we had our issues with the rear portion of the roof framing being too deteriorated to save, and we had to reframe the roof, but it was not a problem, and the new skylight was installed to let natural light into the new rear stairwell.  In the woodshed I have been working very closely with Crawford and Stearns Architects, and we were able to come up with some useful ideas for display areas.

It’s the time for making decisions around the house, and we have been able to come up with several as the project has progressed. We have chosen hickory wood flooring for the woodshed and gift shop area, windows and doors have been picked out, and we are leaning toward a state of the art “green” electrical system. The electrical system will allow the Gage Foundation through motion detectors in the rooms and hallways to have the lighting in the house be at a designated percentage when no one is in the room. For example, if no one is in a room the lights will be at 25% power; when a person enters the room and triggers the motion detector the lights will go to full power. Then after five minutes the lights will reduce down to 25% power again saving an extraordinary amount of electricity per year.

In the next few weeks the push will be on. The exterior will be completed and we will turn our attention to the inside, installing insulation, drywall, flooring and all the trim carpentry.

Until next month . . .

Warmest regards,

Marc Leonardis
President, Leo Construction

Click here to view a pdf version of this report. Includes photos.

Artifacts on Display at  Library

An exhibit of the artifacts found in the restoration of the Gage Home was on display at the Fayetteville Free Library during the month of October, 2009.

Update from Leo Construction

Oct. 5, 2009

It has been an exciting first month of work here at the Matilda Joslyn Gage Home in Fayetteville, N.Y. We started construction on September 1st, and in the short period of time we have removed trees, excavated for the East bay window and rear woodshed addition. There have been some unexpected issues that we have had to deal with such as the rear floor system, which was called to be repaired but was too far gone, and we had to replace a 28′ x 20′ floor system. This includes removing all of the existing floor joist and sub flooring and installing new joist and subfloor.  We have completed the removal and the replacement will be completed by the end of this week.

marcsallydiscussideas_webTo date all the interior demo has been completed, the foundation walls have been installed and the bay window and the addition have been framed. The mechanical trades (electrical, plumbing and heating) are now hard at work installing the mechanical systems that will bring the building up to the new Building Code regulations.

The asbestos roofing material on the lower roof of the existing home is scheduled to be removed on Thursday. We will then begin the removal of existing gables and install the new roof sheathing and shingle the existing lower and addition roof for a weather tight roof system.
In the upcoming weeks we will be installing the new siding, windows, insulation and start the hanging of the new drywall and the repair of the existing plaster walls. Until next month …

Warmest regards,

Marc Leonardis
President, Leo Construction

Photo above: Marc Leonardis of Leo Construction discusses plan modifications with Gage Foundation Executive Director Sally Roesch Wagner.

Click here to view the pdf version of this report.

An Amazing Day of Discovery at the Gage Home With the Heroes of the Day: Sean Gallagher and Bill Whalen

By Sally Roesch Wagner, Ph.D.
Executive Director, The Matilda Joslyn Gage Foundation

September 14, 2009

About 2:30 Sean Gallagher comes rushing over as I’m about to take over the jug of iced tea I bring to the workers every afternoon about this time, along with a loaf of poppyseed bread I got at the Farmer’s Market for them.  Sean is really excited.  He just found an envelope and metal cup in the original stairway to the attic.  It was behind where the shower had been, all closed off for years.

His last job of the day before leaving was to open these stairs.  He tore off the old lathing and plaster and behind it exposed the stairs, with a lot of old paper, about 100 sheets of what looks like single sheets of old writing paper, and debris just stuffed in there. “Way back then it was insulation,” Sean explains.

gageltrwebHe started shoving the stuff out, saw the cup, and thought, “I’d better watch what I’m doing.  As you’re looking through stuff like that you’re looking for dates and stuff, and then the first thing that popped out was the date of a piece of an envelope, postmarked November 21, 1877. And then I started looking at the 3 cent stamp. I got excited.” He said, “I’ve got to show Sally,” and Bill Whalen, who was working with him, said, “Let’s find some more.” Sean came right over to the office with the envelope and cup, and Bill ran back upstairs. Bill says, “I went up and started looking for more in the crevices there, and there was an envelope with newspaper clippings in it.”

The yellow envelope is card size. The printed return is:
Kennard House
J. M. Bettman, proprietor
Cleveland, O.

In Matilda Joslyn Gage’s hand is written on the front of the envelope:
1864 & 1868
[in blue pencil] Working Women
Nov 22 & 23 1868
[written in a different hand and crossed out] Cleveland Ohio
[on back] additional [ torn, can’t read]

[There are four clippings in the envelope.]
1. [ ] 18 1868
A Working Women’s Association Organized
[describes a meeting in the offices of the Revolution, the newspaper edited by Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Parker Pillsbury, published by Susan B. Anthony 1868-1871, between Stanton and Anthony and 20 working women]

2.   Friday, September 18
Working Women’s Association
[another article about the organization formed]

3.  ND
The Working Women in council
[This article is pinned together.]

4.   [written in brown pen, MJG hand]:
N.Y. World
Sept 18/68
[tax protest letter, women protesting being taxed without representation]
AND FINALLY –  the debris was falling through the open space left by the bathtub’s removal on the second floor onto the floor of the front parlor below.  Amid the debris a letter caught Bill’s eye.  What was it like?  WOW!  The letter was in Matilda Joslyn Gage’s hand and describes a dress made, presumably for her.  A quick transcription of the letter follows. Brackets mark words I can’t decipher on first read.
Pink Satin dress [made]

pink satin trim round 2 rows double box over half finger then side pleat [p ] first on [draws a wavy line] pleats, double box in back [ ] 3 in below waist brocade sash front [] front running from left side from strips, wide double 2 box pleats to width 1/8 bottom, [  ]  with pink fringe little close [pearls] ¼ yd from bottom brocade satin fringe at bottom, plain satin pleated above skirt and waist one in back, [h-ded] print [  ] very  [  ] open front stiff co[ton] [lying] up & out sleeves very f[ine] at both full [p  ] lined open in back little ways, puff not so fine at top of sleeve.  On right side [ ]  [ ]  [ ]  pink [ ] fringe
spring at bottom only one box in
[  ] felt [my]Â 2 yd  121
cream fringe  121
[wht] [sh  ]  264
[  h  ]  234
double [rivets] 2 dox
steel [  ] to hat  98
steel lace  39
50 00
16 60

Wht Satin, side plating [headed] by double box plating stitched through the middle.  3 rows fine pleating in front, and bottom, narrow

two rows plating bottom dress
[and then she has drawn it.  And another drawing of three boxes that look like screens]
At first I think she is writing pleating because that is the only similar word I know associated with dresses.  But as I transcribe, I see clearly that it is plating. I google it, find pictures of layered dresses, which is exactly what she is describing.  I’ll send this on to Denise Butler, who sews 19th-century clothing, ask her to help me with the transcription.  Since she knows the descriptive words, she may be able to help with some of the words.

I recognize it as one of the National Woman Suffrage Association envelopes they had printed for the Centennial in 1876.  It is addressed to:
[  ] n Gage (presumably Matilda Joslyn)
New York

On the back there is writing, and I can make out a few words through the dirt accumulated on it:
[monthly ] Sarah
Liberal Era
“If Mother of our Lord.”
[created] natural subordination
[not wish to see him holy]
I put my name to no [  ]
[paper that]

This is just the beginning of interpretation.  We’ll scan the items, and send them out to other eyes to transcribe and folks with knowledge of 19th-century fashion to refine what these items say.  Linda Ryan, Local History Librarian at the Fayetteville Free Library, enthusiastically agreed today to an exhibit of these and other treasures from the Gage Home, beginning the weekend of October 9-11:  our Wonderful Weekend of Gage.  Watch for the exhibit and more about these finds!

Sean Gallagher by hole to attic steps where artifacts were discovered

Sean Gallagher shows where artifacts were discovered.

Sally Roesch Wagner, Susan Goodier and Sean Gallagher inspect debris that fell from the second floor.

Sally Roesch Wagner, Susan Goodier and Sean Gallagher inspect debris that fell from under the old attic steps.

Bill Whalen stands in the back parlor.

Bill Whalen stands in the back parlor, near a box of collected debris that appears to be sheets of old writing paper.

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