The restoration of the Stone Stable on Mulberry Row has begun. The stable is one of two Jefferson-era buildings on Mulberry Row that will be restored as part of a larger effort to return the mountaintop to its appearance during Jefferson’s lifetime.
Jefferson’s documents identify two generations of stables on Mulberry Row. The first stable was built ca. 1793 and consisted of five log structures. In 1808 Jefferson hired William Maddox, a stone mason, to replace the wood buildings with stone buildings. A long, L-shaped addition was made to the stable soon after. No archaeological or physical evidence has been found to reveal what the addition may have looked like. The structure has been in almost continuous use since its construction in 1809. The two stone buildings, originally part of a larger structure, were likely used to store feed and tack during Jefferson’s lifetime. Enslaved grooms cared for Jefferson’s prized carriage and riding horses here.
After Jefferson’s death, significant alterations and additions were made to the building and the surrounding landscape. A post-Jefferson era photograph shows that a second story was added to the stone structures along with several other additions to the buildings. On August 4, 1927, “Near Cyclone at Monticello” appeared as a headline in the Daily Progress. “The roof of the stable was lifted off and deposited in the roadway, completely blocking that thoroughfare,” the local newspaper reported. After the partial destruction of the Stone Stable, the building was restored to its current appearance.
The first step of the restoration involves underpinning the two stone structures. Underpinning will strengthen the foundation of the building and ensure that the building survives for another 200 years. The second step will be to reconstruct a period appropriate roof after the post-Jefferson era additions are removed.
Exhibitions in the restored Stone Stable will share the stories of Jupiter Evans and Wormley Hughes, the enslaved men who cared for Jefferson' prized carriage and riding horses, and the men who drove Monticello’s carts and wagons. Guests will learn how Jefferson’s horses were prepared for his daily ride, and how David Hern, Jr., and Jerry moved supplies to and from Monticello. The restoration of the Stone Stable is made possible by the generous support of the Sarah and Ross Perot Jr. Foundation. Restoration is scheduled to be completed in October just as the leaves start to change color!
The Mountaintop Project is made possible by a transformational contribution from David M. Rubenstein. Leading support was provided by Fritz and Claudine Kundrun, along with generous gifts and grants from the Sarah and Ross Perot, Jr. Foundation, the Robert H. Smith Family Foundation, Mr. and Mrs. John H. Birdsall, Mr. and Mrs. B. Grady Durham, the Mars Family, the Richard S. Reynolds Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, Charlotte Moss and Barry Friedberg, the Joseph and Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation, the Mary Morton Parsons Foundation, the Cabell Foundation, the Garden Club of Virginia, and additional individuals, organizations, and foundations.