Thursday, April 17, 2008
Blueprints discovered at Montrose
By SUE WATSON
The March 18 meeting of the Holly Springs Garden Club contained a big surprise.
Lockie York, chairman of the plans and projects committee for several years, presented attending members with a set of seven architectural blueprints discovered last fall unexpectedly when the kitchen at Montrose was undergoing renovation.
A number of crates thought to have been used to ship furniture ordered from Chicago by Mrs. Jackson Johnson, were also discovered in the basement.
The club oversees the maintenance of Montrose and the grounds, including the arboretum.
The blueprints are thought to have been drawn in the early- or mid-1930s, but the prints are not dated, York said.
Reaction from the estimated 30 club members was a breath-taking gasp, York said.
The discovery had been kept secret while the blueprints were framed and easels were made from the shipping crates to hold the framed prints.
The blueprints were found rolled up together behind an old refrigerator that was being replaced with a newer model.
David Adair, with Adair Construction, Anna Margaret Adair and Lockie York were the lucky first ones to see the drawings which contain every detail for the alteration and addition to the original mansion.
“I thought, oh, my God, these are priceless and we must preserve them,” York said.
She took the prints home, and friend and committee member Anna Margaret Adair and Bill York helped keep the secret until the prints were readied for presentation to the club.
“Anna Margaret and I decided we were not going to tell other members about the discovery until the March meeting,” York said. “In the meantime, we took them to The Gallery in Ashland for framing.”
David Adair was asked to make the easels out of the shipping crates.
York called the blueprints magnificent because of the information contained within them.
The seven blueprints were prepared by Everett Woods and Robert Brown Architect Associates of Memphis, Tenn.
They contain all the design details for the addition of the east and west wings to the original mansion, built prior to the Civil War by Alfred Brooks for his daughter Margaret’s wedding present.
The drawings contain all the details for the bathroom fixtures, the closets, the new bedrooms, the porches, and the kitchen.
The drawings also contain the details for the construction of the butler’s pantry, the kitchen cabinets, the maid’s quarters, the shingles (to match the old ones), instructions for replacing steps on the staircases and the design of heating ductwork plans and layouts.
The bricks used in the addition were made in Holly Springs by Mrs. Johnson’s brick foundry, York said.
The shipping crates are stamped by the Chicago shippers and contain interesting information such as the value of the contents, the weight of the contents, and other instructions such as Glass, Handle With Care and Ride on Edge.
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