Amazing! We are delighted to report that the Germanna Foundation is featured in its SECOND front-page story this week, in the Sunday edition of the Culpeper Star Exponent.
Special thanks to Germanna Foundation members Doug Harnsberger (1717 Germanna Harnsberger descendant), Kathy Ellis (1717 Germanna Crigler descendant), Russell Hitt (1714 Germanna Hitt descendant), and Michael Frost (descendant of Lt. Gov. Alexander Spotwood and Lady Butler Brayne Spotswood Thompson).
See story at http://www2.starexponent.com/news/2011/mar/06/salubria-standing-strong-a…
By Nate Delesline
Culpeper Star Exponent
Published: Sunday, March 06, 2011
STEVENSBURG — Although it’s more than 250 years old, experts say the quality hand craftsmanship and materials used to build Salubria have stood the test of time.
About two dozen people gathered Thursday to give the historic residence and property a good once over.
Salubria was once home to the Rev. John Thompson of Little Fork Church and his wife, Lady Butler Brayne Spotswood Thompson, the widow of Virginia Lt. Gov. Alexander Spotswood.
The 3,600-square-foot residence, located on 20 acres about seven miles east of Culpeper along Route 3, passed into the hands of the Germanna Foundation in 2000, following several generations of private ownership.
Three days ago, a handful of specialists gathered to examine the building’s integrity. They included Jimmy Price of Virginia Lime Works, a masonry and stonework expert; Anthony Beale, a structural engineer; and Peter Post, an expert in historic roofing materials and techniques.
Price and Beale used a 60-foot hydraulic bucket lift — furnished by Hitt Contracting — to do a close-up inspection of the brickwork, cypress-shingled roof and chimneys. Doug Harnsberger, a specialist in historic architecture was also on hand.
Although the roof was last replaced about 25 years ago, Kathy Ellis, a foundation trustee, said no one could recall the last time the chimneys had been professionally examined.
“It needs a little tender loving care,” Price said after examining one of the building’s two chimneys. He also said it appears water leaks have damaged some of the walls.
Price’s firm has performed restoration of the White House and Monticello. Post’s work includes the 2005 installation of a new cypress roof at Montpelier. All of the experts contributed their time for free, along with the use of the bucket lift.
In an era when the lives, times and works of the non-wealthy were deliberately and regularly ignored, Ellis said the craftsmanship of building offers unique insight into the community of people who labored to erect it.
“Everything in this house is hand done,” she said.
Ellis said the goal of last week’s study is to help the foundation craft a long-term plan on how to preserve, maintain and eventually feature the home. And although things might appear to be moving slowly, Ellis said that’s OK.
“We believe in the adage of ‘measure twice, cut once,’” she said, adding that the foundation is undertaking “serious research” before moving forward.
In that spirit, about a year ago the foundation called on Daniel Miles, a British expert in dendrochronology, to employ science to help establish the home’s true age. Using wood samples taken from beams in the attic, basement and other area, his research revealed that the structure was most likely built sometime between 1753 and 1757.
According to an entry in the fourth edition of the Virginia Landmarks Register, cited by Ellis, Salubria is an example of “high-style Georgian design, having an exterior distinguished by a carefully calculated proportional system with minimal ornamentation.”
Salubria was placed on the Virginia historic landmarks register in 1969 and added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1970.
Upcoming events at Salubria
Salubria will be open free to the public April 16 from 1 to 5 p.m. as part of the community-wide Remembrance Day events. Re-enactors will portray the Rev and. Mrs. John Thompson, who designed and built the house around 1757. The Rappahannock Colonial Heritage Society will feature dancers at 2 p.m.
The home will also be open to the public on the first Saturday of each month from May through October from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Admission is $10 for adults, $5 for students and seniors and $3 for kids; group rates are available.
An antique quilt exhibit is planned April 30 through May 1; check the Germanna Foundation’s website at germanna.org for more up-to-date info.