(LENOX, Mass.) – The Mount, Edith Wharton’s 1902 estate and gardens in Lenox, has recently received two major grants to assist in the necessary structural renovations to the exterior of the property’s historic Stable and to finish renovations to the property’s Gatehouse roof. The Massachusetts Culture Council has awarded $137,000 to The Mount, which is in addition to another award of $100,000 from a Boston-based foundation. The monies will go towards replacing and fully restoring the roofs, cupolas, and chimneys of the Stable, The Mount’s primary visitor orientation center and cultural programming space, and the Gatehouse, currently the year-round administrative offices.
“We are thankful to the MCC and our other funder for this opportunity. The restoration of the Stable and the Gatehouse continues to move The Mount closer to our objective.” Susan Wissler, executive director of The Mount explained last week. “Our current vision is to position The Mount as a year-round cultural destination inspired by the passion and achievements of Wharton. We accomplished one part of this vision this summer through our diverse programming and partnerships with other local cultural organizations. Stabilizing and reversing the deterioration on the Stable is the next step, allowing us to host more events in the shoulder seasons and increasing our programming potential.”
Ultimately, a fully restored and adaptively renovated stable will provide upgraded administrative offices, expanded programming and visitor service capabilities, and significant new revenue generating opportunities, either as additional retail or food service space, or some combination. According to Wissler, “Once the offices are moved to the second floor of the Stable, it’s my dream to convert the Gatehouse into housing for resident writers and other artists participating in The Mount’s enhanced programs and workshops.”
Restoration of the Stable and Gatehouse exteriors and roofs was initially started in 2006 with a grant from HUD but put on hold. Although work is now in progress, additional funds were necessary to complete the project by the target date of June 2012.The architectural plans for this phase of the restoration have been completed by the firm Solomon, Bauer and Giambastiani of Watertown, Mass.
Work completed to date on the Stable includes installing structural members and sistering existing framing, rebuilding the chimney, repairing, and painting the three cupolas, and replacing the flat membrane roofing section. Restoration to the Gatehouse roof was completed this past summer. The outstanding components of the restoration to the Stable consists of removing and replacing the decayed roof flashings and shingles; repairing the damaged sub-deck; installing new flashings, a breather layer, and an ice and water shield at all valleys and drip edges; installing new high-grade fire retardant cedar shingles; repairing, patching, and painting all trim details; prepping, repairing, and painting the multiple cornices and dormers; and instituting handicap accessibility upgrades (parking, accessible path and ramps, and upgraded seating), which are required by the Massachusetts ADA regulations.
If you are interested in taking a tour of the Stables and seeing The Mount’s “diamond in the rough,” please call 413.551.5111.