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A Staircase to Equal the Grand Salon

Curator Jerry Trescott removes the last of 1990s carpet from the staircase.

The next phase of a long awaited restoration project began this month. Staff ceremoniously removed the red carpet from the principle stair at Belmont Mansion. This is but the first step in a large scale restoration project which will involve multiple disciplines and will return the central staircase and upper stair hall to their 19th century appearance.

Plaster walls in the stair hall will be restored to the Acklen period reflecting courses of masonry which simulate large blocks of marble. Original score lines delineating each block of stone will be restored, and then outlined with a lead pencil line as they were when new in 1859. Different base colors will again be applied to a series of the faux blocks before marbleizing is applied.

Once the surface is completed, artwork representing paintings owned by the Acklens will be hung in the restored space replicating the gallery appearance of the space as hung by Adelicia.

In conjunction with the stair hall, a full restoration of the principal staircase will be ongoing. This work, like the restoration of the cupola stair last year, will bring back all the original finishes to this space. Oak grained treads, risers and stringers will be highlighted by the return of the mahogany stained handrail and balusters.

As planned, all work is projected to be complete by April, just as the spring tourist season takes hold once again.

This work in progress picture reveals original graining on the staircase.

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